How to Improve Your Decision Making -- Learn About These 4 Voices

Decision Making Consequences

I believe that education should include selected readings from the great classic writers, who were a part of the evolution of thought that developed our Western Civilization — Shakespeare, Dante’s inferno, Aristotle’s Ethic’s, and Solomans’ Book of Proverbs. I particularly liked Proverbs, where the reader becomes acquainted with 4 characters — the simple ones (naive), the Fool, the Scorner (mocker) and the Wise man. These characters are the voices within us that talk us through our decision making processes throughout our life. The key word in the Book of Proverbs is “Wisdom,” the ability to live life skillfully. Skillful living involves making decisions in all areas of life. The primary writer of Proverbs was King Soloman who was known as the wisest man in the world. He said more about seeking council than any other biblical writer of any other ancient writer. Other leaders came to him for advice and marveled at his extraordinary judgment. There was a reason why he was so wise, he understood:

  • There will be situations where you don’t have enough information, but someone else will. Listen to them.
  • Every decision involves emotion (love, anger, jealousy, greed, fear) — emotionally charged environments are not ideal for decision making — therefore we need to seek advice from someone not emotionally involved — they are more likely to see clearly. Listen to them
  • Soloman wasn’t so wise he didn’t need outside input — somebody else can see what we may not want to see. Listen to them
  • Just about every decision making environment (war, economy, relationships, finance, parenting, marriage) involves emotion because you are right in the middle of it. Seek outside council – emotion tends to fog the brain.
I read an article about golf icon Greg Norman. In the article he related a story that struck me as wise. The article had a whole section on seeking wisdom. Because he was a famous professional golfer, he met and socialized with some of the most successful people in the world. He sought counsel from these people. The ex-professional golfer is a very successful global businessman now.

  • As a teenager, he had a bad wipe out while surfing. His board got away from him, he was far away from shore, and he was tired. It was an uh-oh moment where many people might panic. He made a decision to stay calm, and conserve his energy. It took him awhile, but he made it to shore. He said this experience taught him a lot. “For every tough situation I’ve faced since, I assess where I’m at, where I need to go, and how to get there, and then do it as calmly as possible.”  This is an attribute of someone who lives life skillfully.
While reading Proverbs, I began to picture how I could introduce the 4 characters to students – this resulted in a set of Decision Maker Profiles. Although I used the Book of Proverbs, there is no religious context here. The profiles show how the 4 characters relate to people, and the consequences of their choices. 
Decision Making Profiles

Decision Making Profiles -- Slide 2
Decision Making Profiles -- Slide 3
The Slides above  may be printed by clicking on the link below which will link to Google Slides
A Fool yesterday is a still a Fool today; the beliefs, attitudes and actions are still the same. I love giving people an opportunity to choose character phrases that describe their attitudes and influence their decision making. As people read thru the Decision Maker Profiles, they begin to notice their own attributes as well as some from the people they know. When involved in this task, people discover they possess attitudes from all the profile boxes. The importance of this exercise is being able to see the attitudes, excuses, actions and consequences of each character trait.  

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