Retirement Answer Man

All of us can become better decision makers but we often don’t realize that one of the most important realms of life we need to do that in is relating to the small things. Small things add up over time to become really big things. Just ask the alcoholic or an inmate in a penitentiary. They’ll tell you that what I’m saying is true. On this episode, I continue my thoughts about how to make better decisions with a focus on the small decisions in life - and I respond to some listener feedback from last week’s episode of the show. I hope you’ll MAKE THE DECISION to listen. :)

Are you aware of the compounding effect of small decisions?

Every one of us is a decision maker. We decide about things all the time and act on them. Getting out of bed each day. Brushing our teeth (or not). Eating healthy or unhealthy. Every one of these actions flows out of a decision we’ve made. But it’s important that we understand that small decisions like these are not actually small in the long run. They will each have their own little impact that contributes to the whole of our lives. Today’s episode is all about how we can take control of those little decisions that compound over time to ensure our lives benefit from them instead of suffering from them.

If you want to be a better decision maker, it helps to define the issue.

After last week’s show, a listener wrote me to say that one of the most important parts of his decision making paradigm comes at the very beginning of his process. He takes the time to clearly define the issue he’s dealing with and why it’s important. I see the logic and the wisdom of what he’s saying - do you? If we don’t know exactly what it is we’re dealing with and why it matters we may not be as motivated to make effective decisions about it. That could result in us putting off the decision, or neglecting it. You can hear more helpful listener comments like that and my responses to them on this episode.

When making decisions, Tony Robbins suggests you have a conversation with your older self.

One of the tips Tony Robbins often gives to people about the topic of decision making is to imagine yourself near the end of your life. You’re still healthy, still looking good, and still have all your wits about you, but you're looking back on a lifetime of experience. What would that older self say to you about the decisions you’re making right now? Is there any wise counsel to be found from that version of you? I can see how this could be a helpful way to get outside the limitations of your current thinking so that you can approach the situation with a fresh perspective. What do you think about this approach? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Decision makers who are effective usually set deadlines for their decisions.

When you’re faced with a decision it’s easy to get caught up in the minutia of what it takes to understand the situation and actually make the decision. It’s a paralysis of analysis that we all fall prey to now and then. Effective decision making requires that you set a deadline by which time you will make your decision so that you can avoid that trap. You should be wise about that timeframe so you don’t cut your time frame too short, but a deadline needs to exist. This gives you some internal accountability to not only make the decision but to do the research and investigation it takes to make it wisely. That was a concept one of my listeners sent to me after last week’s episode - and you can listen to today’s episode to hear more listener suggestions just as good as this one.


  • [0:24] My introduction to this episode of the show.


  • [2:39] Today’s word: COMPOUNDING
  • [4:07] The concept of compounding when it comes to decision making.


  • [6:13] CNBC reports that a librarian built a huge fortune.


  • [8:58] Listener questions and comments about decision making.
  • [10:15] The importance of defining the issue.
  • [11:41] What would your older self say you should do?
  • [14:25] Making the decision about adjusting your retirement plan due to changes.
  • [17:31] Why deadlines for decisions can be a powerful help.


  • [20:57] How decision making can improve your happiness.


  • [22:29] Make a decision in the next 7 days (big or small).



CNBC article about the Librarian who built a fortune

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Direct download: RAM137.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00am CDT