NLP and Decision Making

NLP and Decision making – How to make excellent decisions.

Decision-making is a crucial life skill. Training ourselves to make significant decisions will help us to achieve whatever success and fulfilment we want in our lives. Good decision-making relies on 1) good information gathering, 2) being in a good emotional state, and 3) having a great decision-making process. It is a crucial enabler to use our time, energy, and attention effectively.

NLP Decision Making
NLP Decision Making


How do we get excellent results through better decision-making?

Decision-making is a crucial part of achieving better results. It’s part of a virtuous system of information gathering, decision-making, prioritising, taking action, and reviewing.

I recently read an interesting Seth Godin blog on the reason we make bad decisions; this post will help us to overcome many of these reasons: Poor information, Shoddy analysis (including cognitive glitches and reliance on sunk costs), Peer pressure, Manipulation, Hustle, Power imbalance, Focus on the short run, Indoctrination, Superstition, and Un-examined biases.

Information gathering 

Before making decisions, getting the highest quality information is best. Our decision-making is often only as good as the information we have.

Therefore, the first part of the process should be a discovery phase where we focus on getting this high-quality information. There are two key sources of information:

  1. Our past and current results against KPIs.
  2. Feedback and feed-forward from people whose opinions we respect. A starting point to this is to ask people a) how they think we’re doing now and b) what are the top 2 things they would do if they were in our position and wanted to do an excellent job.

Getting into the right state

We often make terrible decisions when we’re ‘angry’ or in a ‘fight or flight state states. An excellent way of finding a good state of making decisions is to go back to a time we made a good decision in the past. What state were we in? Reaccess that state. An alternative is to choose 3 of the following: Chilled, curious, creative, determined, open and balanced.

Decision-making process

Run this process for essential decisions with significant implications, costs and benefits. With practice, this will improve all our decision-making, including the ones we make quickly.

  1. Consider the decision logically. Write and score all the +ve’s and -ve’s about the decision. What score between 0 and 10 would we give a decision logically? 10 means we would definitely do it,  while 0 means we would not.
  2. Consider the decision emotively; how strong are our feelings?  What score would we give the decision emotionally? Once again, 10 means we would definitely do it, and 0 means we definitely would not do it.
  3. Consider the decision intuitively. Be silent. Do we have a small voice that adds anything to our logical and our emotional thinking? What score would we give the decision intuitively? Once again, rank it from 1 to 10.
  4. Add up the three scores. If we still think the decision is a good idea, play a mental movie of us implementing it, see what we see, hear what we hear, and feel what we feel. Continue the movie until we’ve got the best results we can get. What’s the impact on us? The people around us? (And maybe the environment we live in?)
  5. Assuming we still want to go ahead, consider any downside or risk going forward. (If there are any severe risks, consider completing the fear-setting exercise below) ,  Is there any way we can reduce the risk without significantly reducing the upside? If so, include it in our planning.


This can be a practical and powerful additional process, and it may be a helpful process on its own, particularly when fear or fears may be holding us back.

  1. Think of what you want to do
  2. Define whatever is the worst that can happen. Write all of them down! What can we do to prevent (or at least reduce) the chance of them happening? What could we do to repair any damage that they might cause?
  3. What might be the benefit of success or partial success?
  4. What would be the implication and costs of not doing it? Over say, six months, one year and five years?

(With thanks to Tim Ferris, see his fear-sharing video)

Future pacing is the first action to move us forward, followed by a timeline of us reaching the very best result we want.

Decide on the first small step to implement the decision. Imagine ourselves carrying out this action as ourselves (associated) in the very best emotional state to get the best result we can get. Then imagine ourselves as an independent person (3rd position) and coach ourselves to do it better. Repeat the imagination exercise as ourselves, taking into account our coaching.

This exercise significantly improves the chances of us carrying out the first step and carrying it out in the best possible way.  Read about the perceptual positions NLP technique.

Then complete a timeline exercise of us achieving what we want. Feel free to repeat the exercise if we need to do any more work on the exercise.

We offer prospective coaching and training clients 3 ‘no charge’ Skype/Zoom/Google Meet discovery sessions, so you can decide how well it will work before you go ahead with a programme.

Find out about our NLP Training and Coaching.

We offer online NLP and coaching programmes, access to Richard Bandler streaming video and audio, high quality 1:1 coaching and high quality 1:1 SNLP certified training.

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Decision making  – Recommended Resources

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