One of my favorite college courses to teach is Problem Solving and Effective Thinking. In this course, I introduce the concept of "decision debt." This is the cumulative effect of making bad decisions. Dave Ramsey has encouraged us to get out of financial debt by making better decisions with our money. My goal is to help eliminate decision debt by teaching people to make better decisions in every area of life.
One of the simplest ways to make better decisions is through the use of the T-I-L-E process. Here's an overview:
Take 30 seconds. You'd be surprised how many decisions we make without giving them any thought. Many of our impulsive decisions are emotionally driven. Emotional decisions are seldom good decisions. So, take a deep breath and get a better perspective on the situation.
Immediate consequences. Most every decision comes with some immediate results. Some are positive, others are negative. Before making a decision, honestly evaluate the good and the bad outcomes. Write them down if you have the time. It is likely that the immediate outcomes will be mostly positive.
Long term consequences. This area gives people a lot of trouble because they don't like to think about the long term effects of today's decisions. When my father was a teenager, he decided to start smoking. He had no idea that the long term consequences of that decision would cost him his quality of life and eventually take his life. Salespeople don't like it when we take time to consider the long term consequences of our decisions. They know that the long term costs often overshadow the short term benefits.
Eternal consequences. Wisdom teaches us that all of life is connected. My decisions today are eternally significant. God left us here to do more than get on each other's nerves. We have a God-designed purpose and our best life is found only when we commit ourselves to live according to His plan. When my decision clouds your view of God, I've made a bad decision.
If we will work through the T-I-L-E process when making decisions, we will eat healthier, live wiser, choose correctly, and relate responsibly. Think about it.
What decisions are you facing today? How can the TILE process help clarify your thinking?
Dr. Terry Hadaway is an educator, author, conference leader, coffee roaster, and church staff member. He has written numerous books for Billy Graham, Max Lucado, John MacArthur, Chuck Swindoll, Charles Stanley, Sheila Walsh, and Dwayne Moore. He also has contributed to projects by John Maxwell, Ken Blanchard, Ben Stroup, Tony Morgan, and others. You can read more at liveyourwhy.net.