06/03/2013 05:19 pm ET Updated Aug 03, 2013

Decision Danger Zones

We are all faced with decisions in our lives some of which are truly important involving relationships, career and finances. We need to do everything we can to make not just good decisions but great decisions. The reality is that we can make assumptions in decision making that create real problems in our lives. In the book of James 4:13-14 it says, "You should know better than to say, 'Today or tomorrow we'll go to the city, we'll do business there for a year and make a lot of money.' What do you know about tomorrow?" None of us know what the future holds, so we need to make the best decisions possible to spare ourselves problems and difficulties. In being careful about assumptions we need to identify decision danger zones. These danger zones are where we can end up making very bad decisions that negatively impact our lives because we make wrong assumptions.

Past Decisions Don't Guarantee Future Success

Yesterday's success in decision making does not mean tomorrow will bring the same result. I have had good success as a decision maker but I can still make bad decisions. The thinking can be that this is just like the last time so I will decide as I did before and it will be successful. But the problem is life is always changing so what worked before may not work again. Things may appear to be the same but there may be differences in our fluid and ever changing world. Expecting a decision to be easy because you've had the same one before will set you up for failure and disappointment.

Know What You Don't Know

If you are overconfident in your opinions you may not gather all the information you need to make a wise decision. Overconfidence can cause you to not even ask yourself the hard questions about a decision. Assuming you have all the knowledge will make you overlook key information. Many times an open door of opportunity can look very inviting and seem as if God has blessed you. It may be the case this is a fantastic situation but you should find out everything you can before you move forward.

Don't Assume Group Infallibility

It is good to seek assistance in decision making. There is wisdom that comes in the counsel of wise people. But you have to be careful because one knowledgeable, informed person will beat a group of uninformed, ignorant people every time. I once had a group of experts (engineers, bankers) tell me we should not purchase a piece of property. Though I respected their opinions I ultimately thought they were wrong and we ended up purchasing the property. Many times the experts are right but not all the time. In this case I questioned their assumptions and challenged their conclusions because I did not believe they were correct. In fact, time has proven they were wrong and had we listened to them we would have made an enormously bad decision.

Be Careful About Feelings

Feelings and intuition have a place in decision making. Sometimes you do need to trust your gut in making a decision. But feelings are complicated by factors like fatigue, anxiety, frustration and boredom. When these are at work you may feel things that are not accurate, are not true and can cause you to make a bad decision. You don't disregard feelings but you must ask yourself if the reason you have this kind of impression is because of what is presently happening in your life. Don't want to allow emotion to overwhelm intellect. You want to rely on facts over feelings.

These are the decision danger zones. Wrong assumptions can hurt your life and future. But when you make great decisions they will bring you joy, fulfillment and success.