Striking a Balance: Tips for Effective Decision Making

8 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

Honest lawyer sign 1 The Decision

Ironically, as I sit here now, writing about decision making, I'm in the crux of making a decision regarding Darling 1's Pre-K classroom/school. There are several issues at the heart of the problem and just as many options that might resolve the issues. Darling 1's attitude about school in general hangs in the balance. And he has a great many years of education remaining. Oh, what to do. I have mulled it over. I have discussed it with Darling 1, DH, the school administrators, teachers and my mother. After less than 24 hours, I think I have finally come to a decision regarding this matter. Now, is it the right decision? Only time will tell. The interesting part about this is analyzing how I make a decision.


My birthday is in October. I'm a Libra. I really don't follow astrology at all, but I find it fascinating to read the description of Libra, the scales, and see if I do indeed own these characteristics. Interestingly, I am very much like the description.

It's usually around my birthday that I think to look up the Libra personality traits to see if I still agree. I did so last night. Again, ironically, there was a part of the description about decision making. One such Libra synopsis states, "Libra can have a struggle with decisiveness because of an ability to see paradoxical sides of every issue." Another reference says, "Librans are the most indecisive of all", but we're also the most charming of all, at least according to the description.

This is true about me; some of the time. I do research, discuss, weigh options, discuss some more and then make a decision, and sometimes still wonder if I made the right decision. However, I also make snap decisions without ever looking back. Oddly enough, it's the snap decisions that one would think are the more difficult: getting a new pet, buying a home, buying a vehicle, etc. What exactly does this say about me?

Black and White or Gray

In a recent Wall Street Journal article written by Shirley S. Wang, Wang notes that there are those who see things as black and white and others who view their world in shades of gray. The black and white thinkers tend to see choices as clear cut and can quickly make decisions. Yet the gray people have a propensity to have conflicted feelings about a choice, finding it much more difficult to come to a conclusion. Researchers refer to this as ambivalence. Here is a list from the article of character traits generally associated with whether one sees the world as black and white or gray:


  • Speak their mind or make quick decisions.
  • Be more predictable in making decisions (e.g., who they vote for).
  • Be less anxious about making wrong choices.
  • Have relationship conflicts that are less drawn out.
  • Be less likely to consider others' points of view.


  • Procrastinate or avoid making decisions if possible.
  • Feel more regret after making decisions.
  • Be thoughtful about making the right choice.
  • Stay longer in unhappy relationships.
  • Appreciate multiple points of view.

It's common for people to fall somewhere in the middle of the black and white thinker and the shades of gray, ambivalent decision maker. However, if one tends toward ambivalence, that person is more likely to be ambivalent in all area of his or her life. For the rest of this very interesting article, see the WSJ:

A Case for Video Games

I'm not a fan of video games. I once I had to do an intervention with DH while in college just to get him to put down the joystick (this was the 90s, pre-Wii), take a shower, leave his apartment and rejoin the rest of the civilized world. Since that time I have strictly forbidden any kind of video game to enter our abode. So, you can imagine my thoughts, especially now that I'm a parent to two Darling Boys and have been preparing my argument against video games since the day Darling 1 was born, when I read this article entitled: Playing Video Games Enhances Decision-Making by Bruce Bower on Discovery News. What? This can't be!

The argument certainly makes sense. According to the article, playing shoot-'em-up, action-packed video games strengthens a person's ability to translate sensory information quickly into accurate decisions. Apparently, action-game players get tutored in detecting a range of visual and acoustic evidence that supports increasingly speedy decisions with no loss of precision. Researchers are calling this skill probabilistic inference. Slower paced, problem solving video games do not encourage probabilistic inference. Based on this research, the more life and death situations are presented in a fast-paced video game, the better for making accurate, efficient decisions. I still don't like video games, but this is the best argument for them I've heard, so far. For the rest of this article, go to Discovery News:

Tips and Websites

The Scoop

In the end, it's about finding balance. Once you make a decision that you are comfortable with, you can find that peaceful balance. How do you make decisions? Do you see things as black and white or in shades of gray? Please share your decision making tips by leaving a comment here, on Twitter or Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you. I will post a bit Motherly Advice on Friday. Over and out…


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