How to Develop Quick Decision Making Skills for Success
In boxing you don’t just have to be quick on your feet, you have to think quick on your feet. Should you block your opponent? Duck a punch? What’s your next best move? What combination should you use? Which direction do you want to move?
Making good decisions quickly will determine the quickness of your reflexes, the speed of your punches, and quite frankly, your power in the ring. The slower your decisions, the easier it will be for your opponent to hone in on you-- don't get caught in analysis paralysis.
Whether it be boxing or anything else, life is full of decisions, and sometimes you have to make them fast. The problem is, quick, impulsive decisions are often based on emotion, leading you to make choices that aren’t the best. It’s important to learn how to make quick yet logical decisions to Become Unstoppable. Here’s how:
Set Clear Goals
For effective decision-making, you have to have a goal in mind. Not just any goal: you need a clear, concrete and specific goal. When you’re in a situation that requires a heat-of-the-moment decision, having a clear-cut goal in mind ahead of time will make that decision much easier on you.
Here’s an example: When you’re going into a boxing match, your intent is obviously to win. But that’s a broad goal, isn’t it? You need to narrow down your objective based upon your opponent. Each opponent has different strengths and weaknesses. If your opponent is known to throw quick punches, your goal is going to be to block or dodge. If your opponent is known for being weak on defense, you’re going to want to go hard on offense. Ultimately, it's understanding your opponent that will give you the edge as a quick decision maker.
Do your homework ahead of time whenever possible. Study the upcoming situation and set SMART goals. Smart goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused and time-bound. Having sound goals will help improve decision-making processes, making your decisions come easier and faster.
Unfortunately, we don’t always have the luxury of planning ahead in life. That’s why we talk about how to be an observer further down in this article. Being an observer will help you to create goals and make quick decisions on the fly.
Set a Decision-Making Deadline
Life tends to get in the way, not just of our actions but our thoughts. Setting a decision-making deadline can help you with focusing your thoughts and making good decisions quickly. Otherwise, your mind is likely to wander to everything else going on in your life.
If you think about it, boxing is excellent training for your mind. In the heat of the moment, you don’t have time for deviating thoughts. The pressure of the moment forces your mind to focus on what needs to be done now.
Start playing decision making games with yourself. Setting a time limit can help build that same kind of pressure as being in the heat of a boxing match. It forces you to stay in the moment and get your decision made quickly and effectively. You can do this by setting a timer on your phone or schedule a decision-making day into your planner. Be sure to put the pressure on and create that deadline!
This practice will also help you find that balance between quick decision making and impulsive decisions, because there is a difference. You want to have the background knowledge readily available in your mind to make the best decision possible. Making strategic decisions quickly is an entirely different wheelhouse from making impulsive decisions that have the potential to go either way.
These decision making games will also help you override challenges on the other side of the equation: analysis paralysis. Analysis paralysis is when you get stuck analyzing something too deeply to practice effective decision-making. Yes, it's helpful to assess the pros and cons of situations, but do it quickly; it's better to make the wrong decision than to not make a decision at all and have someone else decide your fate for you.
Be an Observer
If you have to make a split-second decision, which happens often in boxing, you don’t have much time to think, let alone set a deadline. For situations like these, you’ll need to learn to become an observer.
When you’re in the middle of a fight, you must be able to analyze as much information as possible, then translate that into action. Based upon the situation, you can use what you know to make strategic decisions. When you’re paying attention to the situation you’re facing, you’ll be more likely to make a logical decision should you have to.
Be an observer in life! Focus on being conscious and aware within each moment and soaking up all that you can. Observe the world around you. Listen to understand– not just to respond– and take some time to ponder what it all means.
Get Rid of Bad Options
We human beings have a hard time saying goodbye, even to things that don’t benefit us. Whether it be that pile of papers you’ll probably never go through, dusty decorations that haven’t been hung up years, or that old-school 80’s jacket with the shoulder pads, we don’t like getting rid of things. The same is true when it comes to options.
It’s good to have options, but too many can be overwhelming. Just because an option has a little bit of benefit in it, doesn’t mean it’s a viable choice. Do a spring cleaning. Get rid of anything that is not going to move you closer to your ultimate goal.
To help you move through the process of filtering out bad options, write a list. On this list include all of the options you are considering, along with the pros and cons. This visual will make it easier to identify options that aren’t going to benefit you. Cross off those that don’t serve you, and you’re left with a list of viable options to choose from. While this may not seem related, it does help you become a more effective decision-maker.
Embrace the Possibility of Failure
Many times, your likelihood of failure is based upon your decisions. That’s a scary thought!
To become focused and make quick decisions, you must learn to embrace the possibility of failure. Failure is a part of life, and in fact, it’s a beautiful part of life. Failure is how we learn, grow, and become better the next time around. Let's be honest, sometimes you're going to make the wrong decision, and that's ok!
When making a decision, don’t try to avoid failure because honestly, you can’t. The only way out is to push through the fear. Don’t allow it to hold you back. Remind yourself that there is no such thing as failure; there are only lessons.
Take time to reflect on what you can control and put your focus there. Make a decision based on action, not fear. You can do this by being present in the moment and pushing out negative thoughts about the future. Decide what is going to get you closer to your long-term goals NOW.
Life is full of choices, and it’s important to learn how to make those choices in the most efficient and logical way possible. No one makes perfect decisions 100% of the time, and that’s OK. The important thing is action. Developing quick and effective decision-making skills can set you up for success both in and out of the ring.
Want to put your good decision-making skills to the test? Start by making the right decision and book a session with Gloveworx today!