Self-Help Guide: Decision-Making – Why we make bad choices in life

Have you ever made mistakes? Do you remember those decisions you’ve made in the past, but felt silly about them when you recalled those instances years later? In life, every day, we make decisions, whether good or bad. Our decisions ranged from simple things like what kind of food to eat, what clothes to wear and what route to pass on the way to school to much more complex decisions like what career to pursue in life, who to marry and how to spend salary earned.

The good decisions we make come with loads of benefits and make us happy while the bad ones usually make us unhappy because they usually cause us pain. In order to ensure that we make less bad decisions and more good decisions in life, it is important that we examine what decision making is all about. In this article we will be examining how to make right decisions by outlining the major reasons why we make bad choices in life.

“If I only knew then what I know”. “Had I known”, these are some common regrets. We often use these expressions to show how we feel about bad choices we made in the past. Young people make choices based on the information and knowledge they have at the time. In fact, this is true for all age groups. When we are young, we don’t always make the best choices. The reasons for our bad choices fall into several categories, including lack of experience, lack of knowledge, lack of judgment, and lack of maturity.

As we get older, we make bad choices for the same reasons, but with more complex decision-making challenges. Our judgment becomes become clouded with feelings of inferiority or superiority, substance abuse, mental illness, poverty, envy and all the other numerous conditions and situations influencing the human condition. Another significant reason we make bad choices is low self esteem. Subconsciously, we might think we don’t deserve something better in life, and therefore, we settle for the bad choice. Negative voices resonating from the past make us believe this is the best we can hope for, and again, we settle.

When we find ourselves repeatedly making bad choices, it is time to think about getting help with our self esteem issues.

As we get older, we make bad choices for the same reasons, but with more complex decision-making challenges.

Repeating the same bad choices over and over can be our downfall, and put us at risk on various levels. Bad choices fall under the category of inexperience. Most bad choices are made in ignorance and, when we later become enlightened through knowledge or maturity, it is best to cut our losses and move on to better choices. The only time bad choices are regrettable is hen we knowingly enter into the bad choice and continue along that path with no remorse. On the other hand, time has a way of putting some previously perceived bad choices into perceptive. What seemed like a bad choice at the time, upon reflection, could be a blessing in disguise. How often have you thought to yourself, “If I hadn’t made that bad choice, I would not have been in the right place to receive this good opportunity.”

Moving Ahead

Life is short. There is no point wasting time on regrets about bad choices. Better to move on the lessons learned and give conscious thought to making better choices going forward. We are where we are today, because of decisions that we made. Decision making is the most important activity you’ll ever engage in. everything else stems from your decisions. Those who lead, excel or succeed do so, based on decisions.

You need to employ a system that will help you make great decisions. Your decision-making paradigm has the greatest impact on our lives. The first thing you need is to decide now for all the decisions they need to make. If not, you will always go for what is easier, which is not necessarily the best. When you decide your values beforehand, you limit your options and technically eliminate other possibilities that could distract and slow you down. Don’t wait till the exam day to decide if you’ll cheat or not, don’t wait till the opportunity to lie comes before you decide’. The further your decision is from the event, the stronger you resolve. If you need to purse to think about anything, if you need to pray need to pray to know what your decision is, then pause thoroughly and form convictions rather than take impulsive decisions.

“Chance favors the prepared mind”
– Louis Pasteur

The next step is for you to maintain a clear midterm and long term vision. “Will what I am doing now to help me achieve my objective(s)?” Decision making becomes easy when you have a clear picture of where you are going and what you want. A person without clear vision and defined purpose vacillates between opinions. Grab a journal and document your vision, get a glimpse of 20 years from now and form a 1-2 year plan. Take a step at a time.

“Give to us a clear vision that we may know where to stand and what to stand for-because unless we stand for something, we shall fall for anything”
–Peter Marshall

Lastly, you need to get guidance from people who have had experience before you. Parents are trustworthy adults, including school teachers can be of great help in providing direction for you when you are confused and need proper guidance I the multitude of counselor there is safety. If you get to that unforeseen crossroads in the life where it’s difficult to consult your convictions or your visions, ask. Don’t rely strictly on your knowledge and efforts. It is not a weakness to ask; it is wisdom!

“The secret of success is to ask”


  1. Why We Make Bad Choices in Life by Carol Gioia
  2. How to Make Decisions by Adeolu Akinyemi

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