How I make decisions

By Younas Chaudhary

In life we make decisions, big and small, based on our needs, upbringing, experiences, and personal beliefs. People often ask me the rationale behind my decision-making process in the energy business and real estate industry.

Let me confess first that I am an introvert. I am the type of person who would prefer to sit backstage and stay behind the scenes. And in taking decisions, I am a realist, and once I feel strongly about something, I forge ahead without looking back. As a result, I usually trust my initial gut feeling, which I consider a blessing; I believe God has blessed each of us with unique decision-making skills, and there are no cut-and-paste methods that can be adopted wholesale from one person to another.

Over the years, I have worked hard to train my mind to make quick, calculated decisions taking a disciplined, fact-based, consistent approach. And I principally aim for clear thinking and focus intensely on our end goal. For example, when taking decisions on making deals, like everyone else, I focus on the bottom-line, the return-on-investment timeline, and the risk factors. And after assessing the facts, once I make up my mind, I just move forward. I do not overanalyze my decision-making process, as I believe it is a waste of time and can lead to indecision. If a deal will not work, I will walk away and will not look back.

Listening is one of the most important skills in decision-making. Listening helps you understand the nuances of a deal better and gives you an informed perspective. It is a good trait to seek others’ advice before making major decisions, and I believe in the “Rule of 3.” I seek advice from no fewer than three people who are well-versed in the topic at hand. The reason why I limit it to three people is simple – too many cooks spoil the broth!

If you seek advice from too many people, it can lead to groupthink, waste time, and create confusion.

Decision-making is difficult, but the hardest part is controlling how you react after deciding on a course of action. Often, I go back and briefly analyze my decision-making process, but I do not spend too much time poring over the outcome. A negative outcome does not paralyze me, but instead gives me the strength to do a thorough review and move on to the next matter at hand. At the same time, a positive outcome is definitely a source of encouragement in my decision-marking.

Either way, I do not linger much on the outcome, but instead promptly move on.

As age catches up to me, I look back and am comfortable with the decisions that did not work in my favor. Perhaps they were not meant to be! Over the years, I have made countless decisions that did not work well. However, each time I look back, I just forgive myself. It is always good to do deep introspection and forgive yourself, because this will help you move forward quickly.

Somehow, God has given me the innate strength to clear my mind and seek the next opportunity when decisions do not work in my favor. I have learned that it is always better to wish the winner good luck, accept your loss, and move on without grudges.

A lot of managers get stuck in making decisions, primarily because of a lack of common sense, discipline, consistency, and irrational fear. Many delay opportunities and lose big deals by overanalyzing, obsessing over minute details, seeking too much advice, dragging their feet, and procrastinating.

Lastly, I know that I came with nothing and that at the end of the day, I cannot take anything with me. So, what do I have to lose if something does not work in my favor? What I have now is what I count towards all my blessings.

To sum up, here are a few ideas to help you make quick and effective decisions:

. There are no cut-and-paste formulas for making decisions; the optimal approach varies for different individuals and situations.

. Train your mind to let go once you have made your decision.

. Weigh the pros and cons, but do not overthink, waste time, and be indecisive.

. Seek good counsel from three trusted advisors, but do not spend undue time soliciting advice, and ultimately be sure to make your decision.

. Discipline and consistency are critical to your decision-making process.

. Learn to conquer your fear of making big decisions by taking small, calculated risks initially and then moving on to bigger ones.

. If things do not work your way, do not linger on it. Shake it off and move on to the next opportunity!

. Always take a decision! Conquer indecisiveness, make your choice, and take action!

Here are ways to connect with me   

You can read more by purchasing my best-selling memoir “From Dirt Roads to Black Gold.” Note that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this book will help people in need through my foundation, the YBC Foundation.


The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated.  Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.