High Risk Opportunity Website 

Decision-Making Handbook



Purpose of Handbook


The purpose of this handbook is to teach decision-making skills so that the decision-maker, whether an individual or a group, can make faster and better decisions, whose outcome make a positive difference in their lives.  Any time there is more than one choice (who, what, where, when, how) for satisfying an unmet need, you have a decision to make.   As a general rule, better decisions are based on a better process which will permit you to clearly define your values and generate better options to select from.




Every decision you make, presuming it is yours to make, will influence the both the journey and the destinations of your life.  Your quality of life depends on the quality of your decisions.   Your best decisions are those that are aligned with your life purpose, which is the highest need to which you aspire.  To achieve your highest calling, you must find the opportunities put in front of you that shape your destiny. The best decisions you can make are those that are aligned with your purpose.  If you don’t know your purpose, then nothing could be more important than defining it.   Usually, your highest purpose is what gives you the greatest joy when you are working towards it realization.  When a decision is aligned with your purpose, you will know it, because it will just feel right.   When the destination is right, so too is the journey as the path is easiest when you know where you are going.  When you make a decision, make the decision on purpose, make it a deliberate and conscious decision, and know why you made your decision.


Own your decisions.

C.W. Sooter


Decision Challenge


What distinguishes the mentally healthy life from those that are less so is the ability to make sound decisions.  “Most common element in all the social sciences is the study of people's decision-making and behaviors.”[1] When faced with a tough decision, expect that the decision will be one of struggle to understand all the implications and ramifications.   Spend time struggling with your decisions so that you might come to own them.  Hang on to the agony of decision for as long as possible so that you might so that you may be enlightened along the way to see all the potential that an opportunity has to offer.


Some decisions are easy.  For example, you have a choice as to your attitudes and whether to be happy or not.  You have a choice as to whether to be hopeful or not.  You have a choice as to whether to be kind towards others or not.   These moral and humanistic choices offer a direction but there are often may wants to carry them out, so even here, there are choices to be make. 


One of the most important choices you get to make is whether or not to be happy regardless of your circumstances.  Another class of decision is what opportunities to say no to. You can't do everything you want to do in life, so you have to choose what to miss out on.   You must actively choose what to remove from your life at the same time you actively choose what to add.   Life is a continuous process of making choices of inclusion and exclusion.  A primary choice is one of accepting life’s invitation to participate or not.  When life opens the door to opportunity, it will take courage and fearlessness to choose to accept life’s invitation.    Some choices are just plain obvious such as choosing to be happy, hopeful, and kind to others, because these choice are always rewarding with little downside consequences.  The true purpose of decision making is to find the right destinations and journeys to follow. 


Journey of Life


Everyone is on a similar journey from birth to death.  During your lifetime, you need to build roads that take you where you want to go.  You have the same common goals as everyone else, which is living a virtuous and fulfilled life.  So, you might expect that most people would make similar decisions, given similar situations and choices.  Unfortunately, people are sufficiently different that their range of decision choices reflects their diversity.  Fortunately, there are many good ways to achieve the same end.  Still, there are as many bad choices are there are good ones.  If nothing else, common sense should lead you to make better choices regardless of the decision making process used.  If you want to make even better choices, a good process is invaluable to good decisions.     Still, behind a good process is the variable of the individual who has different, unmet needs, values, and purposes as the input to the process.  All decisions are an output of a process that converts the inputs into results.


Answers versus Choices


Decisions are reversible up to a point although a change in direction can be costly.  You can change your minds if you find the choice is leading you in the wrong direction or if a better opportunity comes along.  Humans are stubborn and you often get trapped in your own commitments.  Sometimes, you awake to find that your decisions own you rather than you owing your decisions.  Once a decision is made and you begin to implement it, the journey takes on a life of its own.  You forget that before the project commenced, there was a decision, and you make that decision.   All decisions have an ultimate purpose, which is to satisfy unmet needs and by doing so, you make life better for others and ourselves.   At any time, a decision can be reversed and a project abandoned.  Life is filled with beginning projects and either completing them or abandoning them.  If you abandon a project, you should do so for a good reason and with a deliberate decision to do so.  If no decisions were ever consummated, your life would be poorer rather than richer.  Life gets better when you choose good goals and achieve them.  As much as you would like to always make good decisions, no one is perfect enough not to make mistakes or to find that the grass is greener somewhere else.  You are continually faced with decisions as to what to do with your time, energy, and resources.   Life is a succession of decisions in the presence of choices. “There are no answers, just choices.”[2]




For every legitimate unmet need, you have a right to decide how you want to satisfy them.  When you are confronted by change or unusually adverse circumstance, you have a basic choice, which how you want to respond to them.


If you elect to do nothing, you have chosen to let circumstances rule over you.  You are better serviced by defining yourself by a deliberate choice and not by chance. Do not permit yourself to move through this journey of life aimlessly.  Move from aimlessness to purposefulness.   Choose everything consciously and deliberately.   Choose your identity well for it is the life you are choosing to live.  Pick values carefully, and let go of any character trait that does not serve you well.  Once you choose your values, your values help you to make subsequent choices.    Pick your inner thoughts carefully as well.  Choosing which thoughts to keep and which thoughts to let go, all require a deliberate decision.[3]   All of life is a decision.  You must choose both what to do and also what not to do.  Everything about your life has to be chosen.  


There is little that you want that you can have once you decide you really want it.  You just have to find a way to get it. Everything that exists has a path leading to it; all you have to do is choose the right path that will take you where you want to go.[4]   Usually, when you decide you want something, you begin to discover all the many different ways to get it.  With alternatives come choices.  While you can have anything you want, you can't have everything you want.  The more you want the more time and effort you must sacrifice to get it.  And both time and effort are limited. So, choose carefully what you wish for.


You have choices…choose them wisely.

John Hanley


Sometimes you make the right decision and everything works out just as expected.  But most often, you make the right decision, but things don’t turn out as expected.  Then, you are forced to make subsequent decisions on what you must do to make the decision turn out right.  Sometimes you have to make the right decision turn out right.


Life is not always a case of either this or that.  There are many options that lie in-between the extremes. Your choices are not always between good and evil, but more often, the choice is between the good and the better.  Always choose the better.[5]  But when you have something good, you need to think twice about giving it up for something better.  “Better is the enemy of the good.”


Your life choices are broader than you imagine as you usually filter your choices and restrict yourself because of perceived constraints and limitations.  Having options and alternatives to choose from is liberating. The more alternatives you can find to get pleasure out of life, the more freedom of choice you have.  There is nothing more liberating than having options to pick from.  You are a slave to your situation if you believe you are trapped with a limited number of choices to pick from.  But to find choices, you must believe that you have choices and search for them.


Always be generating choices; the availability of choices is liberating.

C. W. Sooter


You should always be on the lookout for new and better alternatives.  Continually ask yourself, "What can I do to make my life better and more enjoyable?"  If you don’t seek opportunities for improving your life, you life will remain the same.   The most you will ever get in this world is what you ask for.  For every decision, always be searching for one more alternative, right up until time is called for making the decision.  The further away your best option is from the ideal, the more effort you should expend looking for better options.  .   


Good Decisions


Even before the final result of a decision is known, the hypothetical goodness of a decision can be predicted.    First, a good decision tends to be self-evident, when the little voice deep inside your self tends to be optimistic, thus driving you forward and striving harder to make your decisions a success.   Second, a good decision tends to self-fulfilling, meeting unmet needs, as one successful step tends to lead to another.  Finally, a good decision tends to be self-revealing leading you to believe you made the right choice as you proceed.  As you progresses incrementally towards the final destination, you are better able to envision the desired outcome.


Life is series of choices, and you get to make them.

Doug Hooper, You are What You Think


It is the individual who decides his own fate.

Dave Pelzer, Author of Help Yourself



[1] Piers Steel, The Procrastination Equation

[2] Source Unknown

[3] Doyle Surratt 

[4] Scott Adams

[5] Bob Shank




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Website last updated on 9/4/16
Copyright ©2005 Charles W. Sooter.  All rights reserved.