Category Archives: Personal Success

From Hesitant to Decision Maker in Four Simple Steps

In his classic book Managing Oneself, Peter F. Drucker explains many dimensions of self awareness. These dimensions include how you learn, how you work with others, what your values are, and so on. The idea is to get to know yourself in each dimension and work from your strengths.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who isn’t retired yet. It gave me a lot of a-ha moments about my working life. I wonder why this book isn’t a required reading in all corporations.

Working from your strengths and avoiding your weaknesses is a common self-management advice. However, Drucker adds a little twist to that. He says spot your deadliest weaknesses and fix them. I agree with him on that.

One of the dimensions in Managing Oneself is being a decision maker vs being an adviser. This was an eye-opener for me. I realized that I was a complete adviser and not a decision maker, unless the situation was so obvious that it was impossible to make the decision.

Frankly, I don’t agree with Peter Drucker on accepting who you are on being a decision maker vs being an adviser. In my experience, decision makers get further in their lives and careers, compared to advisers. If you want to make the most of your life, you have to become a decision maker. The opposite is to flounder in hesitation, stay where you are, and not enjoy what life has to offer. And yes, it is completely possible to become a decision maker, even if you are the worst case of an adviser, that is hesitating all the time, analyzing the situation thoroughly, but never daring to pull the trigger.

I have not a single doubt that the road to success passes through making a lot of decisions. Deciding and acting on your decisions produce way better results than hesitating and over-analyzing. The question then is “how are you going to become a decision maker?” Keep on reading for my take on that.

How to Become a Decision Maker

You have probably heard the saying “Good decisions come from experience and experience comes from bad decisions.” That is exactly what we are going to do. We are just going to decide and act on our decisions. We have two options when we do that. We either make a good decision and succeed. Or we will make a bad decision and gain some experience. In both cases, we win. So, there’s no way to lose as long as we keep making those decisions.

By not deciding, you are actually making the worst decision. Indecision results in inertia. In a world that advances so fast staying where you are too long means you are actually falling behind.

Step 1. Find a Decision that Needs to be Made

So, how do we become a decision maker? The first step is to become aware that you are actually hesitating. Most of the time, we aren’t even aware of our own condition until somebody or an event points it out to us. Take a look at your life or work and see where you are hesitating. Where are you postponing a decision?

Step 2. Determine All the Options

When you find a decision to be made, the second step is to write down all the possible options. In some cases, you have two options, yes or no. In others, you have more options to choose from. Once you have come up with the options, write down quickly three arguments for each option. If this process seems to take too long for you. Give yourself an hour to complete it. Not any more than that. At the end of one hour, you will have formulated the decision to be made, your options, and three arguments for each option.

Step 3. Decide or Let the Universe Decide for You

Once you have completed the analysis above, see if the decision is obvious to you. Can you make a decision now? If not, don’t waste any more time and proceed with the next step. Give a number to each option. Then go to and pick a random number between 1 and the total number of options on your list. Congratulations, you have made your decision. You have let made your decision. This is it. There is really nothing more to it. This is all there is to decision making.

Yes, I know. Right now, you are sick to your stomach, but believe me the decision that made for you is a much better decision than your default decision, which was your indecision. Let me explain. If you hesitate between two or more options, that means each option is equally good or equally bad. So actually, there is no way for you to find out which option is better unless you decide on one of them and play it out in real world.

Step 4. Act on Your Decision

I’m going to repeat it again, because this is crucial, life changing information. If you hesitate between two or more options, that means each option is equally good or equally bad. There is no way for you to find out which option is better unless you decide, act on that decision, and see the results in the real world. For that reason, what matters is not making a decision as you might think. “What matters is dealing with the results of the decisions you make,” as Michael Neill explains in his book Supercoach. For that reason, just make a decision and act on it. Toss a coin if you have to and suppose that God or the Universe made the decision for you and trust that it will be in your best interest whatever the outcome.

The good news is as you keep making decisions, you get used to it. You improve your decision making muscles and your fear of decision disappears. Hopefully, you will come to a point, when you won’t have any hesitancy in you. You make decisions on autopilot without even thinking about them and make progress with light-speed. Go for it!

Habits, Willpower, and 30 Day Challenges

My New Year’s resolution this year is to improve the quality of my life by adjusting my daily habits and improving my willpower. I’m going to go over each habit in this post and explain why I included it. Feel free to use this resolution as a template and make changes to it as you like. If you read this in the middle of the year, feel free to make a 30 day challenge out of it.

Little changes in our daily habits have huge impacts in the quality of our lives. I have experienced that at first hand when I quit my daily coffee habit. Giving up old habits and adopting new ones require willpower. An extra benefit of this challenge is that you improve your willpower, because you will be exercising it constantly.

As Baumeister and Tierney explain in their same-titled book, willpower is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Willpower is an important predictor of success. So, working on my willpower is definitely an extra bonus of this challenge.

Here are the habits that I want to adjust in my life.

Start every day with a 20 min workout.

Having a tool like an elliptical cycle at home helps a lot. You don’t need to go out in a lousy weather. You don’t lose time to commute to the gym. You don’t have any excuse not to exercise. I prefer to listen to an audiobook or watch a motivational video while working out. The benefits are not only physical, but also mental. You feel good the whole day. You have higher concentration throughout the day.

30 min meditation every day.

After a difficult day at work or in your private life, a 30 min meditation calms down your mind. It helps you put things in perspective. It improves your attention span and self-control. It helps you to be in the moment in the most difficult moments of your life. Daily meditation habit helps you to realize your potential.

Journaling, mindstorming.

Every life has its challenges. My experience is that if you can formulate a challenge as a question and write it down, the answers appear in your mind out of nowhere. Another benefit is that you can clean your mind from negative thoughts just by dumping them on paper.

No caffeine.

This has been a nasty habit of mine. I’ve been a caffeine addict from an early age. Caffeine is my drug of choice. If I feel low, I wouldn’t drink alcohol, eat sweets, or do drugs. I would just drink coffee, but I’m determined to give up that habit.

Caffeine might improve your attention and mood for a short period of time. However, your energy and mood drops after that period of time and it disrupts your sleeping patterns. I have long periods of time when I didn’t drink any coffee. I can testify that the quality of my life was much higher when I didn’t consume any caffeine.

Check email once per day.

Email is one of those sneaky distractions. A distraction might only take a minute. However, once you’re distracted, you’re out of the zone, that state of mind when you’re the most productive. In my experience, I have two causes of distraction. First, I get curious about something irrelevant and I need to Google it. Second, I face a challenge and I use a distraction to escape from the challenge.

The best way to deal with a challenge is to face it. To stay with it, to focus on it, to formulate it as a question, and to write it down. Once you do that, the solutions appear out of nowhere. However, that can be uncomfortable at its best and painful at its worst.

If you use a distraction to escape from a challenge, you lose the opportunity to deal with it and solve it for good. A distraction might seem innocent, even useful. Checking your email is definitely one of those. How long would it take? One minute? However, the main issue isn’t that minute that you have lost. The main issue is that you’ve lost your concentration. You’ve lost an opportunity to deal with your challenges, overcome them, and to grow as a human being.

Moreover, when I process emails once per day, I process them in bulk. I tend to delete 80% of them without even opening them. If I check emails several times per day. I tend to spend more time on each email, which is just a waste of time. Remember, time is the most valuable commodity.

Limited use of social media.

I used to follow what’s going on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube. However, that’s a waste of time. You can adjust the email settings of those sites to notify you if something important happens. For example, if someone reaches out to me on Facebook on LinkedIn, I receive an email. Otherwise, I don’t check the news-feeds of these sites anymore. They’re just a distraction.

YouTube is a gray area. There are a lot of good quality personal development videos. However, there are also videos that are pure distraction. This is where you need to exercise your willpower muscle.


One good willpower exercise is daily self-evaluation. I evaluate how I performed at each day for each habit. I write down my successes and failures. That way I reward and reinforce my successes and learn from my failures. As you can understand, my days aren’t 100% success all the time. However, by keeping track of how I perform, I increase my success rate.

Overall, I enjoy this process and I already feel the increase in the quality of my life, just after a few days. I strongly recommend that you start a similar 30 day challenge in your life with your own set of habits that you want to adopt and/or give up.

How to Overcome Analysis Paralysis and Make that Hard Decision

My previous post was about the virtue of decisiveness. It was about how hesitancy drains our life energy and wastes our most valuable asset, our time. This post is about a four step method to help you overcome the analysis paralysis and make that hard decision.

Why do we get stuck in analysis paralysis?

We get stuck in analysis paralysis, because we don’t have any criteria to base our decision on. We aren’t sure what our options are. We don’t write down our analysis. As a result, our minds are blurry. We don’t have mental clarity. Therefore, we don’t dare to make a decision at all.

How easy would it be to decide, if you had a crystal clear picture of the situation that you’re in? This method enables just that.

Step 1: Determine your Decision Criteria

This is the first dimension of your decision matrix. What criteria would you base your decision on? Here are some criteria to decide on a major to study at a college.

  • Fulfillment. How much do you enjoy it?
  • Job opportunities
  • Potential impact

Step 2: Determine your Options

Your options are the second dimension of your decision matrix. Some decisions may be yes or no questions. In other cases, you have more options, such as deciding on a car to buy. Write down all of your options.

Suppose that you have three options to study at a college: arts, law, and politics.

Step 3: Analysis

Now, it’s time to construct our decision matrix. You can do this step with pen and paper or with a computer. Make a table with the criteria on the top and your options on the left.

FulfillmentJob OpportunitiesPotential Impact

Once you’ve constructed your table, fill it in. Don’t fill it in with checks or crosses. Don’t fill it in with single words, such as poor, fair, or good. Write down everything that you can think about. You want to empty your mind by putting every concern in your mind on to the paper or screen.

If you’re facing a yes or no decision, you can also use a pro-contra template. In that case, you need a table with two columns only. Write down all the reasons for the decision on the left hand side and all the reasons against it on the right hand side.

Step 4: Decide

If you do a good job in the third step, the decision will appear right in front of you. If it doesn’t, let the analysis sink in. Sleep over it for a night or two. Then make your decision. Don’t procrastinate.

Let the universe decide for you.

If you really can’t make a decision between your options, that means all of those options are equally good for you. By not making a decision, you’re actually making the worst decision, missing all the opportunities in your options list. Luckily, there’s a way to overcome that too.

Write down all the options on small papers, put them into a bag, and draw one of them at random. Now, that’s your decision. Forget about all the other options and follow up on your decision. Start the action, get things done, and achieve something extraordinary. That’s thousand times better than wasting your time and energy in analysis paralysis.

Take the Control of Your Life

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

From The Scottish Himalayan Expedition (1951) by William Hutchison Murray

If you want to make the most of your life, you have to be decisive. The opposite of decisiveness is not carefulness. It is hesitancy. If you dwell in hesitancy, you’ll never know what you want or what you need to do. Hesitancy sucks your time and energy, your most important assets. Instead of using them to get things done and achieve extraordinary feats, you’ll be wasting them. Hesitancy is inefficiency. It sucks the life out of you. It kills you slowly.

Overanalyzing, overthinking, and being too cautious are all manifestations of hesitancy. They are counter-productive. If you’re hesitant, you’ll never make any progress in your life. You’ll never accomplish anything significant. You’ll go with the flow and end up where life takes you. It might not be the place you want to be.

The alternative is to make firm decisions. To take your life into your own hands. Being crystal clear about what your intentions are, long term and short term. Knowing exactly what you want at every moment in your life and going after it.

Being decisive is scary. Your decisions will have consequences and you have to deal with them. You can’t come up with excuses anymore. You can’t play the blame game. You can’t be the victim and beg for sympathy. You’re vulnerable to failure. If you fail, there’s no one to blame but yourself. It requires a lot of courage. It might be out of your comfort zone. It might require willpower to follow up. You might risk public humiliation. Are you ready to face all the consequences and to deal with them?

Flex Your Decision Muscle

Decisiveness is a mental muscle like courage and willpower. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets. Like any muscle, start exercising it with appropriate weights. Start with your everyday life. You can’t decide whether to wear causal or formal? You don’t know if you want to go to a cinema or a cafe? You can’t decide whether to eat Asian or Italian for dinner? Make a decision right then and there. If you don’t know, toss a coin. Then move on to heavier weights and flex your mental muscles on harder decisions.

Just Toss a Coin

If you find a decision really hard, that means there isn’t much difference in both options. In that case, just toss a coin to decide on one option and follow up on that decision. That is way more productive than wallowing in hesitancy.

Be Decisive at Work

Sometimes, we have several tasks at work and don’t know which one to start with. We start with one, dabble on it a little, and move on to the next one. We switch back and forth between tasks without actually completing any one of them. That’s a great opportunity to flex our decision muscles. Just pick one of the tasks and do not move on to another task before completing it. This can be painful if you don’t know how to tackle it, but stay with it. When you do that, the solutions appear right in front of you and you find a way to get it done.

Be Decisive in Life

“It would be nice if I lost some weight.” Convert that into a firm decision. “I am going to lose 50 pounds within a year.” “It would be nice if I made more money.” That becomes “I am going to increase my income by 20% within a year.” Set goals and make them crystal clear, so that when the deadline arrives, there’s no doubt whether you’ve achieved them or not.

Don’t worry if your decision muscle is weak now. Start with small decisions and work your way up to harder ones. If you lack motivation, think about what’s worse? Making a firm decision, failing, and growing as a result or wallowing in hesitancy, waking up in your deathbed one day, and realizing that you’ve wasted your life?

The Most Effective Personal Development Practice

As you read the personal development literature, you might come across various practices and exercises. You might ask yourself “which practice is the most effective one? Which practice should I adopt?”

Dive into the personal development literature and you’ll find many more practices and exercises. Each of them can make a positive impact on your life. However, if you want to maximize your results, you need to adopt them all. This is when synergy kicks in and every practice amplifies the effect of the other. The results you achieve will be much greater than the sum of the results of each practice applied in isolation. Seemingly simple practices in combination bring success.

Your major definite purpose keeps you mindful about how you spend your time. When you improve your mindfulness, you follow your action list without any exceptions. Your action list makes it easier to evaluate yourself periodically. Through periodic self-evaluation, you increase your mindfulness.

Consider personal development as a business. A good product or service makes the job of marketing easier. When the marketing is successful, the business has more resources to invest in R&D. That in turn results in better products and services. The synergy of improving multiple areas at the same time creates better results compared to focusing on separate areas in isolation.

The beauty of personal development is that each practice or exercise is simple and practical. None of them involves rocket science. Each of them is doable.

  • Can’t you set aside 20 minutes per day to meditate?
  • Can’t you set aside 15 minutes to come up with a new prioritized action list for the next day?
  • Can’t you evaluate how your day and week has been at the end of each day and week?
  • Can’t you figure out what matters to you the most and set it as your major definite purpose?

Of course you can. These habits are super simple once you get used to them. Adopt them today and you’ll experience quantum leaps in the quality of your life.

Self-Evaluation for Continuous Improvement of Your Life

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” Socrates

  • Do you want to make the most of your life, but don’t know where to start?
  • Do you want to improve the quality of your life, but don’t know how?
  • Have you set a big goal and don’t know how to approach it?
  • Are you stuck in an area of your life and don’t know what to do?

The natural response of the human mind is to look for concrete solutions to the problems we face. That might work for small goals or problems, but it will result in analysis paralysis in case of big goals and complex problems. We can rarely figure out a crystal clear solution in such cases. Top-down approaches seldom work in practice. The best alternative is to accept our current situation as it is and to improve it continuously.

This post is about self-evaluation, a practical continuous improvement method. Self-evaluation takes at most 15 minutes of your day, but its rewards are invaluable. You can use it to work towards any goal. You can use it to improve a certain area of your life or your life in general. You can use it to organize your life. I’ve seen people using it to improve their discipline in time management, diet, and finances. Its applications are countless.

Self-evaluation improves your self-awareness and self-control. It helps you focus on your goals and let go of behaviors and habits that don’t serve you. It can help you to get unstuck in any area of your life. In the process, you acquire wisdom about life. I use it daily and I can testify to its excellent results.

Set a Target

First of all, set a target for your next week and your next day.

  • If you want to achieve a goal, your target is a list of tasks.
  • If you want to lose weight, your target is a daily menu.
  • If you want to be fitter, your target is a set of exercises.
  • If you want to save money, your target is a daily budget.
  • If you want to manage your time better, your target is your schedule.
  • If you want to improve your social life, your target is the amount of social activities you want to participate in.
  • If you want to improve your relationships, your target is how you want to treat your family and friends.

Feel free to come up with your own version of your target(s) for your focus. You can use it for multiple areas of your life. You can set multiple targets for each area of your life. The idea here is to make your target measurable, so that you can compare your results to your target.

Collect Data

Throughout the day, collect data about your results.

  • If your goal is better time management, write down how much time you spend on each activity.
  • If your goal is to lose weight, write down what and how much you eat every day.
  • If your goal is to save money, write down how much money you spend and the products and services you spend it on.


At the end of your day, draw a line under your notes and evaluate your day.

  • What did you do well?
  • What could you do better?

The second one will be your improvement points for the next day. Here are some examples:

  • I’ve completed only six out of ten tasks in my target today. I checked my emails and social media too often. Tomorrow, I’m going to check my emails and social media only once. I’m going to focus on my tasks first.
  • I’ve mostly stuck to my daily menu, but I’ve drank a cup of coffee with sugar and eaten a desert in the afternoon. Next time, I’ll drink it without sugar and eat a small cookie instead of a desert.
  • I’ve worked on my project for eight hours, but I’ve spent two hours on social media afterwards. Next time, I’ll skip social media after work and go out with my friends instead.

The last step of your evaluation is to update your targets for the next day.

Longer Term Evaluations

Daily evaluation is great, but you don’t need to stop there. At the end of the week, go over your daily evaluations and evaluate your week. Ask the same questions. What did you do well? What could you do better? Set targets for your next week. By doing that, you’ll spot greater trends that you haven’t seen in your daily evaluations.

Of course, you don’t need to stop with the weekly evaluations.

  • Use your weekly evaluations to evaluate your months,
  • Your monthly evaluations to evaluate your quarters,
  • Your quarterly evaluations to evaluate your years.

The longer the term, the greater is the insight you’re going to acquire. That way you can set meaningful New Year’s resolutions and achieve them too. This is like charting your map through life, making course corrections as you go, and reaching all the destinations you want to reach.