How to Decide How to Decide

Rod Pickett
2 min readFeb 5, 2024

I think about decisions in three ways: hats, haircuts, and tattoos.
James Clear

All decisions are not created equal.

Some decisions are so trivial that they are like hats.

If we don’t like the way a hat looks, we simply try on another.

If a decision is easily changed, it doesn’t make sense to invest a lot of time in making the decision.

Sometimes, it is best just to make a choice and move on.

Other decisions are like haircuts.

A bad haircut will eventually grow back out.

The choices we make in these situations will persist for a while but not for too long.

We can afford to take a little risk with these.

Of course, we could keep the hairstyle we had in high school until our 50-year reunion, but we don’t want to be that person.

We don’t want to live our lives in a rut.

Haircut decisions give us the opportunity to experiment.

The third type of decision is like tattoos.

They are semi-permanent.

We might be able to remove them or redesign them, but they will leave a mark.

These deserve more thought and more time.

The cost of a bad decision is higher than with hats and haircuts.

Sometimes, there might be a way to turn a tattoo into a haircut.

Henna and transfer tattoos are not permanent and last about as long as a haircut.

With some creativity, we might be able to test-drive a decision before we make it permanent.

When faced with a decision, we should first ask if it is a hat, haircut, or a tattoo.

If it is a hat, here’s a way to find out what hat we want to wear, when we are having trouble deciding.

We tell ourselves that we’ll flip a coin. If it comes up heads, we will wear the red hat. If it is tails, then it will be the blue hat.

While the coin is in the air, we will notice that we are rooting for the coin to be heads or to be tails.

That’s when we know which hat we prefer.

Not every decision deserves drawn-out deliberation.

We shouldn’t waste time and energy on hats and haircuts.

Then we can give more attention to the tattoos.

— Rod Pickett

Now available at Amazon: The Courageous Heart: Wisdom for Difficult Times in paperback and eBook.

--

--

Rod Pickett

Rod Pickett is a writer, pastor, teacher, photographer, real estate broker, certified personal trainer, consultant, woodworker, and life-long learner.