There are times for every one of us when we have to know how to make a difficult decision in life. Be it a decision regarding work, relationships, family life or any other area of life, the nature of life is that we have to make difficult decisions from time to time.
In many ways its strange that we don’t inherently know how to make a difficult decision. After all, we have likely made hundreds of difficult decisions over the years in one form or another. Why have we not developed a system to make the process easier?
Why don’t we inherently know how to make a difficult decision?
The reason we haven’t developed a definite means of making a decision is because the decision making process occurs beneath the surface.
We’ve all experienced those moments when we went for a walk to clear our mind and then—hey presto—the solution to our problem pops into our mind. When the solutions–or the answers—occur, we are usually thinking about something else entirely.
The fact that decisions are made while we are thinking of something else (or not thinking at all) isn’t coincidence. The fact of the matter is that we need to stop thinking about a decision in order to make it. It is almost as though we have to mentally step out of our own way in order to allow ourselves to make the decision.
Essentially, our conscious mind needs to remove itself from the decision so our subconscious mind can decide for us.
So, how to make a difficult decision. The answer lies in distracting your conscious mind.
There are a number of different ways to do this. Essentially, you can do anything that will distract you. You could go for a walk or a run. You could play an action packed video game (which will preoccupy your mind long enough for the decision to be made) or you could meditate.
My personal favourite solution is to meditate. Whenever I need to make a difficult decision, I close my eyes and focus absolutely on my breath. This distances my conscious mind from the decision, allowing enough mental space for the decision to be made.
Here are some great books I recommend on how to make a difficult decision
In order to best explain this we’ll consider Daigo’s classic match VS Sabin at Seasons Beatings.
Any part of the Daigo VS Sabin match will illustrate how effective fighting games are at getting us to make split-second decisions, but or particular interest is when Daigo Umehara (Ryu) performs an absolutely sick C.FP to Super to counter Arturo Sanchez’s (Dhalsim) F.FP and win the match. That’s what happens in-game, but what i happen in-brain? (see what I did there.. . )
First things first, he has a set of options in his mind (he has various moves he can choose between) and he has to choose the best move to use. He chooses to cancel crouching fierce into super based on several observations: he has full super, it’s his only real chance to regain the health advantage and, most importantly, he knows there is a high possibility that Sabin will use Dhalsim’s F.FP because it’s a fairly safe move (or at least should be–check out the look on Sabin’s face after to see just how amazed he was). As can be seen, Daigo has to choose the best move from many possibilities and he has to do so whilst under pressure. The first benefit of fighting games, as is here seen, is the ability to make quality decisions in minimal time whilst under pressure. This is the exact same skill that is used in thousands of occupations, from stock and options trading to police enforcement (of course the amount of pressure and the amount of knowledge required varies but the underlying, core mental process that occurs in these activities remains the same: we make judgement calls under pressure).
Next up, Daigo has to bait Sabin to press a button when at the right spacing (if the two characters were closer together or further away this set-up would not work). To do so, he has to analyse a huge amount of information by working out Sabin’s movement habits. This information includes: analysing the way Sabin reacts to Daigo’s own movements; analysing the pattern of Sabin’s moves; determining exactly when and where Sabin likes to attack in order to be prepared to counter.
Finally, whilst all this information is being processed, Daigo has to react in literally spilt seconds to hit the button in time.
So, we have the ability to hold lots of information whilst simultaneously carrying out extensive data analysis and finally putting it all together in one moment of blisteringly quick reactions. All in all, we have one heck of a great tool for developing decision making skills, skills that can very readily be applied to a great variety of jobs and other real life situations. It is not hard to see how these positive effects of fighting games could be adapted for use in corporate training education, personal development programs or even athletics training.
Other Positive Benefits of Fighting Games
They teach us how to be patient:Decent fighting game skills require the gamer to patiently bait out mistakes from the opponent that they can then punish. Patience is one of the most obvious differences between an absolute noob and a fairly decent player as noobs will almost always opt to simply rush in and will end up being countered all day until they are dead (A.K.A Jump, Uppercut, Jump, Uppercut, Jump… yawn). The patience fighting games develop is applicable to myriad areas of personal and professional life but is perhaps most applicable to public sector work like public health service jobs and police law enforcement jobs.
Positive Thinking Exercise:Whilst a good gamer will be patient, they won’t just sit around waiting for the opponent to come to them. Instead, they must continually pressure the opponent in order to force them to make a mistake. Essentially, this means the gamer is continually working towards a positive goal and hence is developing their positive thinking skills. Again, there are a great many areas where this skill is applicable, including: personal life (from success in weight loss programs to confidence with women), education (I’m sure I’m not alone when I state that positive thinking was absolutely essentially to getting through my university degree and was perhaps even more so in drama school, which this author attended during his obsession with education).
Pattern Recognition: A lot of fighting game skills come down to what is referred to by the fighting game community as “Yomi.” Yomi is commonly considered mind reading, but in reality is the ability to interpret move sequences in order to know what comes next. In other words, fighting games develop your pattern recognition abilities, skills that are applicable to jobs such as being a software engineer or solution architect.
Planning & Adapting: Being good at fighting games requires the player to form complex strategies to use in different match-ups, but more importantly requires them to have the wit to change that strategy at the press of a button (literally).
Relaxation: Whilst the actual fighting in fighting games is very exciting and serves to get the blood boiling, fighting games can very quickly be turned into a tool for relaxation by heading to the training room. Any fighting game player will instantly know what this is about, but for those readers who do not play fighting games themselves, the training room can best be thought of as a sandbox where players can try out new moves, tricks and combos on a dummy-opponent. Here, two key relaxation tools can be found. Firstly, there is the relaxation found in exploration as the player sets about trying out new moves and set-ups. Perhaps better than this however, is the ability to perform combos over and over again. Learning combos in fighting games is rather like learning basic piano tunes, and, as with piano playing, the rhythm and repetition of combos naturally serves to calm the mind.
Overall: Next time someone tells you you’re wasting time playing fighting games, tell them you’re simultaneously developing your decision making skills, patience, positive thinking habits and pattern recognition skills cause you don’t know whether to work in stock trading, law enforcement or solutions architecture. That should shut them up.
Here’s a simple and very effective way to develop your decision making techniques.
Developing Decision Making Techniques
This exercise for developing decision making techniques requires you to make quick decisions and also to splash out just a little bit of cash (literally pennies though, so don’t worry too much about that!) Essentially, we are going to make a few quick purchases at a local convenience store. You can buy candy or any other reasonably cheap item, but make sure to select a category of product from which you can choose 5 items for little cost.
There are a few reasons for doing this exercise to develop decision making techniques at a store. These are:
1) Other people may be around, hence helping your ability to judge / evaluate publicly.
2) The cost (though small) insures that you do at least invest some effort into your purchases.
3) You get an instant reward for your work. Rewards are especially effective in training your brain. You want to make sure your brain associates the judging / evaluating work (the exercise) with a positive outcome (the candy).
Steps for this Psycholoy Exercise for Decision Making Techniques
1) Make sure you have enough cash to but 5 items of whichever category of product you have chosen.
2) Visit your local conveniece store whenever is easiset for you.
3) Spend at least a few minutes looking over the items so you are aware of the possible choices you could make.
4) List ten items that you might like to buy.
5) Wittle that list down to 5 (hence practicing your ability to say NO to items)
6) Order the 5 items you most want from 1 to 5
7) Buy them (and tell the shopkeeper of arolemodel.com! :D
8) Eat the first of your candies. The rest are the reward for part 2.
Steps for Developing Decision Making Techniques,Part 2
Do this part of the exercise later on the same day or even the next day.
1) Choose one of the following items (choose the one you have the most emotional atachment to) : songs; movies; books; pictures / photos ; facebook friends ; twitter followers / following; cards (if you have collected cards youve recieved over the years)… these are just examples. Choose something you have an emotional connection to and of which you have at least 10 different examples (so you must have 10 favourite songs or movies, friends etc.)
2) Take a few minutes to list your items in order from 1 to 10.
3) Now, you are about to permanently throw away 5 of these items (mentally. You dont have to actually do it. Just pretend that you are going to throw them out or delete them etc.)
4) Create two lists; one list of items that you will keep, the other of ones you will get rid of.
5) Mentally imagine yourself saying goodbye to the 5 items on your “get rid of” list.
6) Take a few minutes to look over the items you chose to keep. Recognise why you made your decision.
7) Eat candy number 2 (or treat yourself in some other way; whatever works best for you).
Do this exercise regularaly to get used to evaluating various items. This will help you weigh up the value of products, ideas and much more and will greatly help with the decision making process.
Developing Decision Making Techniques
If you enjoyed this exercise for developing decision making techniques or found it helpful please remember to tell any friends or family whom you think may also benefit!
Also please take the time to check out ARoleModel on …