So, one of these things is not like the others…….
It is staggering to think about ALL of the decisions we make over the course of our lives. Sometimes a decision can be life-altering such choosing a partner, a career, a neighbourhood in which to live, and so on. At other times, the decisions we make are intended to help make life go more smoothly on a daily basis.
How we make decisions is an important consideration, ask yourself these questions about your decision-making process:
– Do I invite others to provide feedback? Am I open to feedback?
– Do I ask myself questions about the decision I am making?
– Do I consider if the decision I am leaning towards will be a healthy decision over the long-term?
– Do I think far too long about my options?
– Do I focus only on one possibility?
– Do I consider the outcome(s) of my decision?
– Do I reflect on pros, cons, and all the possibilities in-between?
– Do I set a timeframe for when I would like to have the decision made?
– Do I make decisions impulsively without considering potential outcomes?
– Do I have an effective, helpful way to make decisions?
– Do I have a clear picture of my decision-making history?
Brainstorming – An Essential Life Skill
When we brainstorm, we ask ourselves several questions, sort of like asking yourself the questions above (a mini-brainstorming exercise!). We try to consider alternatives, possibilities, and we attempt to reach outside our comfort zone. Brainstorming is an active process. It can be done individually, in groups, aloud, on paper, and within a counselling session. Brainstorming is purposeful in that the idea is to generate diverse perspectives about a given topic. Open-ended questions can be helpful, e.g., How might that impact…? What resources do I have available to me now…? When could I begin to takes a first step toward…?
At the same time, to brainstorm is to also be intentional about not setting limits or boundaries early on in the process of brainstorming. Being open, creative, and flexible will help generate ideas. The challenge might be to not leap immediately to solutions and/or the first idea that comes to mind. The Sky’s the Limit – well, sort of. Thinking as big as the sky within what is realistic is not a bad approach.
I often equate brainstorming with learning and discovery exercises such as mind mapping. Check out the following web site for mind mapping tools and resources: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_01.htm I also connect the art of brainstorming with journal writing, doodling, drawing, self-talk, conversations, and walking. These types of activities help stimulate right brain functions such as divergent thinking and creativity.
So the next time you find yourself stuck trying to make a decision, consider the art of brainstorming.
The views expressed are mine alone and do not reflect the views of the CCPA. Dr. Debbie Grove is a therapist working in Edmonton, Alberta. To learn more about her, visit her web site at www.learningtolive.ca
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA