To prepare a training session on Rational Decision Making (slides here, if you are curious) I read really quickly through half of the book The Three Secrets of Wise Decision Making and I also started applying it to my own decisions right away. To get more practice, I decided to also apply proper decision making to rather small decisions or things that one wouldn't normally call decisions -- I call it challenges to the status quo -- and I found something wonderful: there's a big flexibility in my life that I haven't seen before. Many things of which I thought they have to be this way or that are actually just decisions that I once made in a bad or biased way and if I look deeply at what I really want, I can choose to have it any way I want!
In the past, I often thought that I need to train my concentration or prop up my willpower to get things done that I had decided to do. But now I see that maybe all I was lacking was real deep motivation to do those things. Megan Hayes just wrote a piece that's talking about the same thing.
All to often we get our life goals (or nasty todo-items) just by looking at what others do (house, car, kids, career, ...) or by viewing ourselves as a specific type of person (hard-working, health-conscious, ...) or member of a specific group (vegans, bike fans, train spotters, ...) or we just internalize expectations that others (parents, bosses, spouses, ...) have for us.
I found that rational decision making helped to refocus on my values and what I really want. It helps me see objectively what is good for me individually. It helps gain perspective and set priorities better.
In a world where we have more and more options, more and more possible life styles, more and more choices, it's important to be able to sit back and find your own way. I have found that a certain mindfulness is important to become aware how things affect me and what influences me. And explicit, creative decision making is the perfect counterpoint to design my response to life.