Approaching Decisions With An Open Mind

Napoleon Buonaparte said “Nothing is more difficult – and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.”

Decisions ARE difficult, and they are the stuff of life. What school to attend? What occupation to pursue? Whom to marry? Where to live? How to live? Do I want to cut fat or carbs out of my diet? Who gets my vote? Should we insert troops into Syria?

Though decisions are difficult, there is something we can do to make the decision process easier. We can approach decisions thoughtfully by gathering the best information to use in making the decisions. That gathering process must begin with an open mind, with an attitude that we may not have the correct information or enough information to make a decision.

General Armstrong Custer, before he led his men to their deaths at the Battle of the Big Horn, said “There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the Seventh Cavalry.” The general believed the 597 men in his force were facing a rogue group of 800 hostiles who had left the reservation.

Unfortunately, reservation Indians joined the rogues several weeks prior to the battle. Still, Custer’s scouts did report they had found the largest native village they had ever seen. However, his decision to go forward with his ill-prepared attack was based on the earlier, incorrect information. That mistake was compounded with his obvious arrogance. Today historians estimate between 1,500 to 2,500 Lakota and Cheyenne warriors confronted Custer and his troops – who did not fare well.

So the important steps to making better decisions:

  • Approach the problem with an open mind.
  • Gather the information needed to make the decision.

We will be writing about the second step in future blogs.