More than money: how to make well-rounded decisions
When you’re deciding what to buy, is the decision purely financial for you? Are you impulsive, quickly making a snap-judgement? Or do you take other values into account?
Personally, I make decisions somewhat quickly and it’s very rarely based on finances, although they obviously factor in. For me, I feel almost like Marie Kondo clearing out an old drawer. I hold the decision close to me and have a feel around and see what my soul joy tells me. If it leaves me feeling a bit sparkly and warm, I generally trust myself to make good decisions. And that gut feeling hasn’t failed me yet.
I’ve spent a lot of time working on getting to know myself and I really enjoy self-reflection. I know that one of the most important life currencies to me is happiness, so in most decisions I’m feeling out the option that gives me the most soul joy.
Often, we use money as a measure of success. We’re constantly on the hunt to make more and spend less. But what about other things that bring value to our lives? What about soul joy? Time? Family? Energy? Personal values? Balance? These are all things that we cannot buy with cash, but without them, life would be pretty rubbish. Although many of us have money at the forefront of our minds when making decisions, decision making isn’t always purely financial, so it’s important to consider other values before you make your decision. Especially any big decisions.
What are life currencies?
Basically, life currencies are the things that make life worth living. It’s the balance between time and money, family and that golden work/life balance.
Your personal values might also factor in: do you spend more to choose items that are planet-happy, like, organic food? Or do you take ethics into account, does something being fair trade matter to you? Do you spend a bit extra to have the eggs that come from ‘happy’ hens that are free to wander around? Another factor for many of us is the opinion of those that we care about. Whether you’re basing a decision based on the opinions of your friends or because you feel like it’ll impress others.
The decision-making process
When deciding if certain purchases are worth it, the importance of your life currencies should also come into play. By weighing up different types, such as soul joy, ethics and personal values, it can help you to make decisions.
If you find yourself struggling to make a decision, it could help to weigh up your life currencies and see what’s more important to you than others. Maybe even make a list of your priorities? For example, we might want something that has a positive planet-happy impact but isn’t too expensive, so the cost is less significant as long as it satisfies other life currencies. Or alternatively, do you consider the health implications, would this add value to your life by making a process easier?
Obviously, nothing is ever set in stone and our decision currencies can be a sliding scale of value.
Making decisions in difficult situations
Even the best of us are indecisive. I can make a decision based on soul joy pretty quickly when it comes to the big things. But what to make for dinner tonight? Ahhh. This question can lead to a tennis volley between Scott and I, just each of us passing it back to one another: ‘Oh I don’t mind, what do you feel like?’.
But for the bigger stuff, sometimes, it might feel like a decision is too difficult to make. It’s especially difficult when you’re not sure what the best option for your life might even look like!
If this sounds familiar, it’s important that to take some time out to sit with the decision and really think about your values in order of importance, so they are clear before making a final choice or taking action on anything at all. This can also help us to feel more confident in our decision making because there won’t always just one right answer but rather many options available depending upon how much weight each currency has within us.
Life currencies should never dictate decisions without considering other aspects such things personal health, values, family, joy; however, these factors may change over time, either because circumstances change, for example, someone becomes ill.
Decision making mistakes
One of the most common decision-making mistakes that people often make is by basing decisions solely on financial factors. Not only can this be limiting but it’s also not always in their best interests.
For example, choosing the best way to get to work. Public transport is cheaper in the short term, but it takes two hours whilst driving only takes 45 minutes. However, they choose the public transport option choosing to spend less up front as it saves them x amount of money, ignoring the currency of time and the benefit of the extra two and a half hours each day.
Benefits of making a decision quickly and without regret
But how can you use this knowledge to make a decision quickly and without regret? The key is to understand the pros and cons of each option before making a decision.
For example, if you find yourself stuck between choosing a pair of more expensive shoes that will last for years, but will take some time to break in, compared with a cheaper pair of shoes that won’t require any breaking in time but will wear out quickly, maybe in a few months. It’s important to first identify what your priorities really are here; do you want something durable? Or is comfort your overall priority? Are you looking to reduce your impact and are therefore looking to invest in a longer-wearing wardrobe?
The benefit to making a decision quickly, especially coming to a decision that you believe in, is that ultimately, you’re not wasting time and energy on something that doesn’t matter. By making decisions quickly, especially good, positive decisions, will mean that you’re not just making decisions that are based on your priorities and values, you’re also saving yourself time. No more wasted hours what if-fing!
Obviously, the downside to making a decision quickly is that you may not properly consider all of the different factors and might lead you to regret. For example, when buying a new car, you might go for a fancy expensive car because you’re instantly drawn to it without doing any research. And next thing, you’re finding yourself slowly replacing the car part-by-part each month.
However, by having a good idea of what is important to you and what your life currencies comprise of, you’ll have a better idea of what is likely to work for you. You’ll be able to rattle around your decision drawer and hold things close and find out what sparks joy in you and adds soul joy to your life.
Overall, by knowing what matters to you when making a decision, you can make a more informed decision that is right for you, your life and your circumstances. Ultimately leading to a happier existence that is fuelled on soul joy and balanced decisions that work for all of your values and decision currencies. And hey, if it turns out that money is your ultimate priority and life currency number one, that’s fine too. As long as you’re living a life that you’re happy with and making decisions that bring value and joy to yourself.