What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

how do I make the best decision when I'm not sure what to do?

What do YOU do when you don’t know what to do?

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?

The great philosopher and baseball player, Yogi Berra, described this state of indecision and gave sage advice when he said, “when you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Not knowing what to do can take various forms, including:

  • two or more great options – yes, theoretically we love having choices, but in real life, more menu items to select from is not necessarily easier.
  • two or more terrible options – this is the scenario that begat the phrase, “jumping from the frying pan into the fire.” If you’ve burned yourself on a frying pan, you know why the guy jumped.
  • confused by the facts – ETFs, ETNs, IRAs, Roth IRAs, 401Ks – have you figured out the best retirement investment options for your golden years?
  • the future is unknown – duh! – of course we know that, but this variation of confused by facts still catches us by surprise and stymie our decision-making. This factor has also created the sport of second-guessing the stupidity of others based on our 20/20 hindsight. And as a publisher I can attest there are plenty of books that have been written by people who have caught lightning in a bottle and looked back and described in detail how they engineered their success – even if they had no clue what they were doing at the time.
  • conflicting feedback – I’m not sure if it’s scarier when the people I trust unanimously agree with what I want to do – or when it is a hung jury.
  • fear of failure – *spoiler alert* – aren’t you just a little suspicious of anyone that promises you a path or program that insures success – like a sure-fire way to pick the right stock every time? (If that was possible, why would someone that rich waste time selling a program to me?) If you are a perfectionist, decisions just got more than a little bit tougher.
  • decision fatigue – there are business dynamos that have no problem making million dollar decisions all day but have a blank stare and no ideas when asked where to go for dinner. Decisions take energy. If you’ve been working 12 hour days to finish up a project, it might not be the best time to rush out and buy a new car you can’t afford.

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6 Thinking Hats for Writing

6 hat thinking for writing

Try on all 6 hats for your next writing project!

Can a business strategy be used for the writing process? I thought I would give it a try with the 6 thinking hats for writing.

In 1999, Edward De Bono introduced the Six Thinking Hats as a way to improve thinking and decision making for individuals and groups in the business arena.  De Bono showed that humans think in six distinct ways and he gave each thinking dynamic a representative color. He believed all six ways of thinking are needed for making the best decisions, but if we let them run amok in our head we tend to get confused.

“We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope, and creativity all crowd in on us. It is like juggling with too many balls.”

De Bono suggested that a breakthrough activity (not a permanent state of being and doing things) for groups and individuals is to compartmentalize our thinking intentionally and purposely. If we tried on each of the six hats when dealing with problems, new ideas, processes or any other task at hand, we would come up with better decisions and solutions. If one of the hats doesn’t quite fit who we are and how we do things, all the better. It’s role play after all. [Read more…]

13 Ways for An Author to Use Google Tools

13 ways for an author to use google tools.

Google is a powerful company with powerful tools that can enhance an author’s productivity and final product.

I have come up with 13 ways for an author to use Google tools that will enhance your productivity and the final product. I first wrote about writers using Google in 2012. But Google’s array of tools has grown and my needs as an author continue to morph, so I realized it was time for a new list. As you read through my list of both obvious and clever ways to put Google to work for you as an author, keep an open mind that you may have 13 additional ideas. Feel free to share! [Read more…]