Have you ever made a poor decision? I sure have, which some of you assumed looking at my facial hair. I’ve also made some great decisions, but a lot of those probably involved luck.
About four years ago, I started thinking we’ve got decision-making all wrong. Way too often, we look at just one factor in making a decision. Pulling from opportunity cost and many other people and ideas, I began developing Holistic Cost. We all have different values and make different decisions based on them, but I’m pretty sure we could all take a closer look at the ones we are making.
I wanted a quick way to look at multiple aspects of a decision, a holistic view, if you will. We make something like 35,000 decisions per day. Some, like breathing, don’t need a lot of analysis. But for many, it’s important to look at a few factors. What should these factors be?
I settled on the T.E.R.M.S. of a decision. Time, Energy, Results, Money, and Satisfaction – five values that factor into our decisions. Let’s take a quick look at these five words, how they work together, and how they can hopefully lead us to make better decisions.
First up is Time. How often do we say, “I don’t have time” or “that would take too long”? Time is finite, and it only seems to go by more and more quickly. When making a decision, we have to think about whether the time spent will be worth it. If we choose a certain option, will it take up the time we could use for something better? Will it save us time down the road? Do we find value in spending a lot of time on something, or finding the fastest solution? I always say I have been gifted the skill of efficiency, but that’s not always necessarily the best path.
Next comes Energy. This one might be even more important than time. We certainly have a limited amount of energy. Now, your first thought might be physical energy, but you have to look at mental and emotional energy as well. When making a decision, will it be the best use of your energy? I’ve got a 3-year-old daughter who taxes my physical, mental, and emotional energy often. She’s definitely worth it, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.
What are the Results of this decision? How will it affect me in the short term? Long term? How will it affect others? How will it affect how others feel about you? Impulse is powerful, but as we get older, and hopefully more mature, we start to think more about how things fit into the big picture.
Money – this is a loaded one. We can be very strange about money. When we talk about something expensive, it is usually related to money, but “expensive” definitely applies to other areas as well. Rich, poor, middle of the road, we all make a lot of decisions based on money. A lot of the reasoning behind Holistic Cost is that money plays a huge part in many of our decisions, but I have realized it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Do you find value in the deal? Or the status of the price tag?
Your decisions come together and wrap up with Satisfaction. Once it’s all said and done, how satisfied are you based on the other four values in T.E.R.M.S.?
Of course, I don’t have it all figured out, and it’s a work in progress. I do find though, that when I factor in the Time, Energy, Results, Money, and Satisfaction of a decision, I have a more holistic perspective on how to move forward. Whether it be something simple, like what to have for lunch, or a more important topic, like a career path, it all works together to help me maximize my decision-making progress.
Hopefully, the holistic cost of reading this was worth it. What do you value? What do you not value enough? Let’s work together to make better decisions and make the most of this life we’re given. Fill out the form on this page and I’ll send you a few emails and will do my best to make the Holistic Cost worth it.