The Most Important Thing You Can Do Before Making a Decision

So, you’re facing a huge decision. This one’s big. Really big. This is the kind of decision that will make or break you.

Sausage or bacon?

Okay, maybe not, but there are plenty of times when we do have to make big decisions: about what car to buy, about whether to splurge on that expensive piece of tech, about how to best talk to your child about his or her life choices. The bigger and / or more expensive the decision, the more important it is that we get it right, because getting it wrong can cost us.

Sometimes we have to make a decision right away. Life isn’t always fair like that. Those are tough decisions that, sometimes, I wish I could do over.

But more often than not, we don’t have to decide right away.

Companies, though, don’t like that. And they do everything they can to get us to make a snap judgement. They serve up “limited-time offers” (hint: they probably aren’t) or tell us to “call in the next 20 minutes and get this bonus” (hint: that’s probably not true) or tell us this car “is hot and may not still be around” (hint: it probably will be, and if it isn’t, another will be around soon).

Why do they do this? Because they’re afraid that if we wait, we might not give them our money.

Sometimes our brain doesn’t like waiting, either. If your kid or an employee in your business needs a consequence for their actions, your brain may cry out for instant judgement. But that’s not the way actual *judges* do it. What do they do? They deliberate! They take time to think it over.

That’s why the most important thing you can do in making a decision is to SLEEP ON IT.

Yes, getting advice from others is important.

Yes, researching is important.

Yes, consulting your current situation is important.

But sleep is really, really important.

Why? Because our brains don’t stop when we sleep. In fact, they’re quite active, cleaning out toxic byproducts and mentally processing the things we’ve learned and done that day. When we don’t get enough sleep, we don’t process information as well and we are more likely to forget things down the road.

When we sleep, we’re not only waiting on a decision, but we’re thinking about it, too.

That means that, when we wake up the next day, we probably have a much better idea as to what we should do. We’ve had a chance to think about it, detach our emotions a little bit, and maybe even see things a little from different angles.

Some people may point out that this is obvious advice. And it is. But it’s also something worth repeating, because despite the fact that it’s obvious there are still people who don’t do it.

So when you’re faced with a decision, remember to subject it to a good night’s sleep. Not only will your body thank you, but your wallet just might, too.

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