Improve Your Decision Making Skills by Avoiding the ‘Jump Rope Effect’

Improve Decision Making Skills: Avoid the Jump Rope Effect

When is the best time to make your move and take action? Improve your decision making skills by avoiding the “jump rope effect.”

If you ever played jump rope on the playground as a kid, you know the feeling. Put your hands up and do it with me.

With handles firmly in their grasp, two classmates fan their arms widely as the rope whips around and around.

Thwap. It whips the concrete in steady cadence.

Thwap. From your point of view, the rope is pulsing in and out, passing right by your face.

Thwap. You put your arms in front of you, palms forward, as your hands and upper body lean in and out to mimic the flow of the rope. In, out. In, out.

Thwap. “Next time it comes around, then I’ll go.”

Thwap. Now. Wait, no.

Thwap. Now. Wait, no — this time.

Hesitance is one of the biggest detriments to taking opportunities. Embrace the following points to improve your decision making skills when you find yourself caught up in the “jump rope effect.” (You can put your hands down now).

There is no perfect time

With any opportunity, it often feels like it’s never the right time. If you wait until the absolute perfect conditions come around, you’ll unfortunately be waiting forever. Any way you slice it, there’s going to be risk, and risk can be scary. But life is risk. The fact that you’re alive and functioning today is tribute to the fact that you’ve overcome most of what life has thrown at you.

Sure, there are intelligent ways to assess a “good” time to dive into an opportunity; conversely, you need a little awareness to spot the truly “bad” times as well — like asking for a raise during your boss’s divorce.

The world won’t wait for you

As the rope comes around, that opportunity  — to ask her out on a date, to take that trip  — is right in front of your face. It’s only going to come around so many times, because eventually someone else is going to cut in and willingly jump in your place; or if you really wait too long, everyone’s going to pack it up and head home. By the time it’s overtly safe enough for you, it’s already been safe enough for somebody only slightly braver than you.

Adapt or die

One key source of hesitance comes from fear of inexperience. “I’m not qualified for that job,” or “I can’t dance.” The good news is that you’re much better at figuring things out as you go along than you give yourself credit for. You’re likely going to adapt, and you probably aren’t going to die.

Everyone — even the people who seem like they have their shit together — is making it up and figuring it out as they go along. And even if you do fail, the great news is that most mistakes are reversible. Fail better by learning and trying again, whether it’s that same opportunity or another. Iterate, learn, repeat. Your decision making skills (and life skills) will be sharp in no time.

Nothing is going to happen until you decide to jump in, so hop to it.

Follow Garth on Twitter @garthinkingcap

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Photo by Patrick