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Ask The Expert

How to make a good decision?

Humanities or Science? Books or shoes? Going out with friends or family? Buying a laptop or a phone? Are you always confused whenever you have a decision to make? You are not alone. Most of us feel the same. But there is a way out. TeenBook co-founder and our guest expert Vithika Yadav has some really cool tips that can help you make an informed decision. 

Decision Making Skills in Kids

What is a ‘good’ decision? 

Well, whether a decision is good or bad can only be decided once it has been made and its results are obvious. So no one decision can be good or bad when one is making it. But yes, we can make an informed decision which can increase the possibility of it being a good decision. 

Informed decision-making is a process of assessing risks and benefits and most importantly collecting relevant information before you take a step. 

It depends on a lot of factors which are sometimes not in your control but a lot of factors that are in your control. There are uncertainties that can affect your decision-making. No informed decision is based on a hundred per cent certainty and every day you have to choose something over another. 

How to make an informed decision?

For example, in the future, you might have to make a decision on what subjects you want to take up in high school. Science, commerce, humanities or something completely new. Now, this is important because a lot is riding on the decision you make.

So here you will need to sit and think. What subjects do I like to study and can really work hard on? Because if you don’t enjoy a subject, you are not likely to do well or be able to make a career out of it. Only if you enjoy these subjects, the fact that you’re able to put in the time and effort needed. So the decision will be based on a conversation you first have with yourself. You can then speak to trusted adults who have taken those subjects at school and are now working in their chosen fields. It will give you an idea of what prospects your chosen subjects have and how you can chart your future with those subjects. 

Finally, you can find out more about the kind of post-school education available for your subjects and the kind of support you would need to pursue them. Once you have thought about all these things, you can make a final decision that would be not just based on your likes and dislikes but on a variety of other factors. 

Let’s take another example. You have pocket money and you want to buy shoes but you also want to buy a set of books. The decision you will have to take will need you to seek more information about the choice that you need to make. So you have two options, you want to buy books and you want to buy shoes. 

Try and assess what you need more. Do you need the books first or do you need the shoes first? The other thing you might want to evaluate is the cost. The books that you want to buy, how much they cost, and the shoes that you are looking to buy, how much do they cost. Doing a little bit of cost analysis will also help you decide what you want to go ahead with first. Will you need to add in more money to pick up a specific choice? Or maybe you have torn shoes, and it is an immediate need and you would want to spend on shoes first. 

So assessing the scenario, and looking at all the factors, it is important that you come to a decision that is well informed. You have thought about what is more important to you right now, where is the need, and what you can afford. So looking at all of that, you make an informed decision. That I pick books over shoes or shoes over books. 

Decisions come with consequences 

So basically, unlike our childhood, when we made decisions based only on desire. I want ice cream and I want it right now! But teenagers and adults require making decisions that are informed. Why? Because as children you are never asked to make decisions that have a long-term impact and it will be your parents making those decisions for you. 

But as you become a teenager and move towards adulthood, you need to think about what you want, why you want it, how are you going to get it and what are the various factors that are involved in getting what you want. Why? Because adulthood is also the time when we have to face the consequences of our decisions. But don’t worry, help is always at hand. 

You can talk to a trusted adult, your parents, your teachers, counsellors or send us your questions. You can also use the Seven-Step Ladder to make your decision. It is a pretty cool way and can help in many situations. Taking decisions and making choices sometimes can be very very hard. 

Photo: Shutterstock/Person in photo is a model.

Have a query? Ask our experts! In this column, we take questions from adolescents and their parents on growing up, adolescence, puberty and everything in between; and put them to subject matter experts.

Also, don’t forget to check out the full podcast on the same topic of decision-making. Click the link below:

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