It’s summertime and with school out, seemingly fewer weekly activities to attend, and obviously longer days, it’s a good time to commit to spending more time with family and friends. On that note, for this summer, I’ve committed to having at least one night a week when my family of three, plus two dogs and a cat, pile on the couch and watch a movie together (at least the humans).

The Decision Making Struggle

Although we are just getting started, it’s proved to be a little difficult because browsing Netflix or Amazon Prime Video has exposed what I’ve suspected for a while … I have a hard time making a decision. I think this carries over into other areas, not just limited to movies selection. I suppose there were early signs of this when I would spend two hours at Blockbuster on a Friday night in 1995.

Like Blockbuster, when browsing Netflix, there are just so many choices and they all seem so good. Once I get past deciding between a movie, tv series or documentary, it becomes another series of decisions on the type of movie, tv series or documentary. Are you starting to see a pattern here?

Making these decisions is tough, and I’m getting better. Best of all, I’ve learned a few things about decision making, and I’ll share a few of these lessons with you.

Stick to The Plan

While scrolling through Netflix, I feel like I’m looking at a menu with the most amazing offerings. Everything looks good, and I want it all. But I’ve got to choose. And unlike food, I can’t split a movie and share half of it with my wife.

When it comes to making a decision, there is only one way to go. It’s best to commit and see it through. It can be easy to bail if that decision doesn’t seem to be going right. However, there are times when it’s okay to persevere and see it through.

I’ll admit, we’ve stopped watching a movie thirty minutes in because it was a dud. It’s so easy to do this now because we can just flip to something else. Back in the movie-store-rental days, we did not have this option. We rented the movie for twenty-four hours, and good or bad, it was in our possession. We paid for it. We were watching the whole thing.

In essence, we made a bad choice and stuck it out. The good thing about sticking with a bad choice is we can learn from it. This leads me to my next revelation.

Learn From Bad Decisions

There’s something about having to sit through a bad decision, in this case, a bad movie. It becomes a learning experience. We learn about what we like and dislike and what factors led to our bad decision. It’s information we can use at a later time.

From choosing a bad service provider, a bad restaurant, or starting to watch a murder documentary at 11 p.m, we can use the experience to make better-informed decisions later.

The point is, if we always stopped when things got bad, we wouldn’t fully benefit from the hidden educational opportunity. Also, everyone needs an “OMG I sat through that whole movies, and it was so bad” story.

Just Share It

I think the best thing we can do with our life experiences is to share them with others, the good and bad ones. When I’ve made a good Netflix decision, I’m always quick to share it. When someone provides me with good service, I’ll let others know.

Not only is this passing on useful information to someone, but sharing is a great way to build relationships. How many times has a great conversation started with “Have you seen …?” You either find common ground and a shared interest with someone, or you’ve enlightened them on something you want them to check out.

And then people will reciprocate, providing you with advice based off of their good and bad decisions.

What is your decision-making process? Moreover, how do you deal when you make a bad choice? I’m still learning to be more consistent in my process. In the meantime, you’ll find me scrolling through and deciding whether to watch Ozark or that new Allen Iverson documentary. Or should I watch that new food documentary?

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash
The decision making struggle can be fraught with tension. How do you proceed when you discover you've made the dreaded bad choice?