Can I Delegate Big Decisions To A Spreadsheet?

2020 Vision: Easter Sunday

Your mind is overwhelmed with swirling thoughts and overworked by pros and cons. 

You are suffering from decision fatigue.

Can you delegate your decision to a machine?

If you have reached this stage, you have potentially three valid options:

  1. Stay (commit)
  2. Go (commit)
  3. Stall (uncommitted)

When faced with such a big decision, you want to weigh the pros and cons logically. But humans are also emotional creatures.

Depending on your style, you might do this without knowing (unconsciously) or be more deliberate (consciously). I recommend the latter. There is no trial period you can use to get answers.

We once used a spreadsheet where we listed the core considerations, assigned each a weighting to indicate relative priority and then rated each country against that factor.

Here is an example.

We thought this would surely give us the answer.

I completed the weightings and scores with Anne-Marie. The magic spreadsheet duly spat out The Decision. It told me Australia beats Ireland based on our priorities.

We did not like the answer. It did not feel right. We played with scores and weightings, trying to get it to spit out the answer we truly wanted.

We realised there were factors we had missed. Our first attempt comprised criteria and weightings driven only by my head. We had underestimated our hearts’ desires. New factors emerged so we captured them.

Our attempt to be black and white forced us into the grey.

The spreadsheet did not provide the answer. But it was not a waste of time. It was part of the journey of discovering more about ourselves and our values. It led us to the true answer. It also highlighted things to consider and prepare for when we entered the next phase – Anchoring.

A like-for-like comparison between two countries is difficult, especially when one is your homeland.

Emotions are difficult to quantify. We practise every day living in our heads. We forget that we have three sources of intelligence available to us – head, heart and gut. Each has different strengths. 

  • Your head is best for doing.
  • Your heart knows what you truly need, hence the term heart’s desire.
  • Your gut tells you whether a decision is right or wrong.

We struggle to find the correct answer when making big decisions. Maybe there is not a single one. 

The spreadsheet cannot decide for you. But it is an insightful exercise on the path to the big decision.  

It opens the door to self-discovery. It helps you to stay open and inquire. You will ask more questions. It can take time as you tune in more deeply to subtle messages that will arise from your body, not just your mind. Allow answers to emerge rather than forcing them. Stay patient.

Only when you finally decide with a ‘whole-body yes’ should you switch to head mode. It is the time to be proactive and positive.

I witness people who have not yet decided, struggling with logistical head problems and worrying about details that are merely noise and will not determine their long-term happiness.

The success of your move will not come down to a list of pros and cons. Nor can you guarantee success only with a good decision and a solid plan. But you will almost surely fail without one.

Your future will be determined by your attitude during the experience, your ability to maintain perspective and to appreciate what you have. 

After all, if you are not happy there, you may not be happy here. 


James Parnell is the founder of A New Dawn in Ireland community and provides online coaching for anyone inspired to change their life.

This article is an excerpt from the book A New Dawn in Ireland. If you would like to be notified when the book is published simply register here.


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