Making decisions

Should I keep going, or should I quit? Have I made the right choice, or should I switch? Should I postpone the exam until next semester, or should I give it a try? What should I do after my degree? Should I do my Master's or start working, or go abroad first instead? Should I stay in this relationship or end it?

There are an endless number of situations where you can face a decision-making dilemma. Any situation involving a decision is a dilemma as long as there is no option that is clearly better. These dilemmas can put us under a lot of pressure, overwhelm us and seem to last forever. When this is the case, it's worth acquiring the skills, help or tools necessary to deal with the situation more effectively.

Nine steps for dealing with decision-making dilemmas

A good introduction to dealing effectively with the challenge of making a decision.

Worksheet: The Dilemma

Weighing the pros and cons

Classic lists of the pros and cons are very helpful for gathering and sorting all the information and arguments for and against each option.

Worksheet: Pros and cons

Mind maps

This is a good option if the decision is a complex one and you need to choose from various options.

Worksheet: Mind map

Thought experiment

When we visualise things (with our mind's eye), we think less with the logical, analytical part of our brain about an issue and can balance out what is frequently language-oriented 'thinking'. This makes it possible to bring our emotions into considering a situation.

Worksheet: Thought experiment

Doubts about your choice of degree course

There will always be times when we begin to have doubts about a decision we have made. Reflecting back on the decision-making process can be helpful in becoming clearer about our own reasons for making the decision and give us important input for the next steps.

Worksheet: Influence diagram

Intuitive decision-making

Sometimes it's good to listen to our intuition. For example, we can use our gut feeling to make a decision quickly.

Worksheet: Intuitive decision-making