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Making Decisions with Self-Confidence

How to achieve what you set out to achieve.

In addition to being realistic and action oriented, decisive people tend to have self-confidence. High self-esteem gives them a positive view of themselves, and their sense of self-efficacy gives them a belief that they can achieve what they set out to achieve.

Self-confidence is important to decision making because it generates a sense that things are under control and being handled properly. Self-confident people tend to challenge themselves more, which helps them achieve more.

They also tend to set higher expectations, which removes limitations and can promote greater success. Self-confident people also tend to handle change with more ease. This helps them avoid procrastination and helps build trust in their decision-making ability.

The consequences of low self-confidence

A lack of self-confidence can damage your decision-making abilities. Low self-confidence may have a number of consequences.

1. inaction — You may prefer to do nothing because you’re afraid of making the wrong decision. However, this is likely to make you feel defeated.

2. self-limitation — Instead of challenging themselves and taking calculated risks, people with low self-confidence play it safe and stay within their comfort zone which can set limitations on the decisions they make.

3. avoiding responsibility — Individuals who suffer from a lack of confidence tend to defer responsibility for making decisions because they believe others can make better decisions.

4. doubting your decisions — Even after they’ve made a decision, people with low self-confidence may remain troubled. If they don’t trust the decision they made, they’re likely to be fearful, anxious, or worried about whether they made the right decision.

Be Honest

Increasing your self-confidence can help you make decisions. There are three things you can do to build your decision- making confidence: be honest about when you’re at your best and when you’re not, be thorough, and be calm.

Start by recalling instances of success or when you’ve felt you’ve done well in the past.

Once you identify the circumstances that play to your strengths and those that do not, you can improve your confidence by acting on that knowledge. Simply increase as much as possible the number of times you’re in situations when you’re at your best, and decrease the number of times you’re in situations when you’re not at your best.

You can also work to remove limiting thoughts from your way of thinking. As you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll find yourself having more self-confidence.

Be Thorough

Being thorough is another way to build your confidence in your decision-making abilities. Paying careful attention to detail when making decisions helps you know you’ve covered what you need to be successful. This will naturally help you become more confident about the decisions you make. As you make decisions, listen carefully, don’t make assumptions, and consider consequences — this will help you be thorough.

If you want to be thorough when making decisions, don’t make assumptions. Typically, assumptions tend to support preferences — which don’t always lead to the most appropriate decisions. Instead, focus on facts when making decisions. This will help you remain objective and draw conclusions that are right for the goal of the decision, not your personal preferences.

Next, determine how to manage the consequences you’ve identified. Also, make sure your proposed responses to the consequences are viable. Otherwise you’ll fail to manage the consequences to the detriment of the decision.

Be Calm

Another way to build confidence in decision making is to be calm. Decisions may need to be made quickly and without complete information — this can be typical during a crisis. Failure to remain calm can lead to hasty decisions that can have negative impacts. So how can you improve your ability to stay calm during a crisis?

First, draw on the experience of others, especially those who are known for remaining calm, by studying their past decisions. Study both their successful and unsuccessful outcomes to learn the most.

Planning can also help. Although you can’t plan for a crisis, you can plan to respond to potential events. Having a plan to deal with both problems and opportunities that come up can help you remain calm and make appropriate decisions.

Finally, reviewing your own performance can help you recognize where you’ve done well and where you haven’t. Applying what you learn to future decisions will improve your performance during stressful situations.

Self-confidence is necessary for decisiveness. With some concentrated effort you can build your confidence in decision making.

First, be honest about when you’re at your best, and when you’re not. Once you identify the situations in which you perform best, find ways to operate in those situations instead of situations you don’t excel in. You can also work to replace negative thoughts with more positive thoughts — they are infinitely more productive.

Second, cultivate thoroughness by listening carefully, avoiding unnecessary assumptions, and considering the consequences of all decisions.

Third, stay calm to avoid making hasty, inappropriate decisions. Build your ability to remain calm by studying past decisions, planning for potential events, and reviewing your own performance.

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Picture of Dr. Sydney Ceruto

Dr. Sydney Ceruto

A Pioneer in Neuroscience-Based Coaching

As the founder of MindLAB Neuroscience, Dr. Sydney Ceruto has been a leading force in integrating neuroscience into coaching and counseling for over two decades. With three master's degrees in psychology and two PhDs in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, she is widely considered a top expert in her field.

Harnessing the power of neuroscience-based coaching, Dr. Ceruto's innovative approach focuses on neuroscience, neuroplasticity, and neural pathway rewiring to foster lasting positive change in mental health.

Dr. Ceruto holds esteemed memberships in the Forbes Executive Council, Positive Performance Alliance, Wharton Executive Education Program, the International Society of Female Professionals, and executive writing positions for Alternatives Watch, Brainz Magazine, and TED: Ideas Worth Spreading.

Dr. Ceruto's accomplishments include:

  • The 2022 CREA Award.
  • A lead research position at NYU Steinhardt.
  • Volunteer work with Covenant House and the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI).

Her science-backed method of Neural Rewiring has successfully guided thousands of clients toward happier, more productive, and more resilient lives.