Do you tend to endlessly weigh the pros and cons of trying to make a choice? Try drawing a problem or taking a leap in time and talking to yourself in the future. Or draw a “Descartes square.” We’re sure one of these methods will definitely work.

We have to make decisions every day. But for some people, the process is a “one, two, three” process, while for others it is a lot of anxiety. Sometimes a decision has to be literally nurtured on the ground of doubts and fears. How to stop rushing between options and spending energy on it and learn to make an informed choice?

1. Abstract emotionally

If possible, it is worth postponing this process and return to it in a calm state, when passions will subside and the devil will not be as scary as it is beckoned. There is a high probability that the problem will either resolve itself with the best outcome or lose its urgency. The Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Buddhists, recommends this approach to his disciples and followers.

2. Don’t push yourself into a corner

As Albert Estein said, “a problem cannot be solved at the same level at which it originated”. Which means, after soberly assessing the situation, you should try to move to a new level of looking at the problem and make a decision. How to do it? For example, by schematically depicting the problem on paper in the form of a drawing with clear boundaries. The next step is to go beyond those boundaries. “Often we find it difficult to find a solution because we subconsciously limit ourselves to the territory of the drawing,” wrote Bernard Weber. – However, nowhere does it say that one should not go beyond its boundaries. The conclusion is that to understand a system, one must go beyond it”.

3. Use the method of backward reasoning

This method is widely used in game theory: with its help participants calculate the path to victory, it consists of the following. You need to schematically “untangle” on paper the tangle from the decision made to the present moment, thinking through the possible steps and their consequences in reverse chronological order. Let’s say you need to decide how to get to your destination quickly and inexpensively. The destination is the decision you made, that is, the starting point. The steps that could lead to that point: plane, train, car. Consider a plane – is it a regular flight or a charter flight? If regular, is it direct or with a connection? If connecting, is it in Moscow or St. Petersburg? And so on.

In this way you need to “untangle” all the options. In the end, you should end up with a scheme that looks like a branching tree. It remains to draw out the most optimal path and eliminate unnecessary actions.

4. Apply the coaching method of time stretching

If drawing and calculating steps does not work, try to see yourself in the moment when the decision has already been made and the consequences are quite clear. What can you tell yourself from that point? What can you warn against, what can you advise?

5. Use the Descartes square

The method boils down to four questions to ask yourself:

Once you have the answers, it remains to weigh what is best for you and what you can easily do without. Whatever decision you made, it was the only right one under the circumstances. You will never be able to disprove it.