Those who don’t decide – don’t live. Throughout each day every one of us makes hundreds, even thousands of little decisions. Some are straight forward, others aren’t necessarily so. For many, the decision making process is unnecessarily long, drawn out, filled with procrastination, longing and angst. To top it off many decisions are second guessed after the fact – they are judged sub-optimal. Regret, loss, despair.

It’s not surprising that a lot of people instead of making their own decisions end up deferring to the committee of others. The TV anchor, high-shot executive, real-estate broker, physician, spiritual guru. People decide to skip bacon on their breakfast sandwich and then feel like their whole rest of the day is lacking fulfillment.

But there are also people at the opposite side of the decision-making spectrum: decisive, happy, fulfilled, cheerful-no-matter-what, looking forward to a day of possibilities instead of a yesterday of “bad mistakes.”

How do they do that? What’s the process? Can it be learned, and duplicated?

Is it due to genes, intelligence, upbringing, tough parenting? Turns out it’s none of these. Just look at an INTJ!

By their nature, INTJs are decisive. They make decisions and then follow through on them, and dispute what happens next they don’t seem to dwell on it. There’s some post-decision analysis, true to any INTJ venture, but there’s never any sadness or regret even if the result of their action isn’t beneficial or even obviously detrimental in retrospect.

The simplest way to understand how decisions are made without over-complicating the idea too much is to state that:

People make decisions which directly align with their personal values. What you do every moment is exactly what your values represent.

Say you’re in a cafeteria, and you think your values align with a health-conscious lifestyle. You go to the gym, you shop at Whole Foods, eat little meat. And then you see it: Triple-Fudge-Chocolate-Brownie topped with not-one-but-two Chocolate-Mint Ice Cream.

What do you decide? Do you decide that your satiation is important or do you “compromise” your healthy-eating values and go for it two forks in each hand?

Many people would go for the brownie, and feel bad afterward. But it’s not their fault you say – who can resist? The will power can’t outdo thousands of years of evolution, right?

And similar pattern repeats dozens of time day-in-day-out. People declare their values to be what they feel will get them an att-a-boy but when they act out of their real values they feel bad.

That’s how you get conundrums like this:

  • Parents say they love their children more than anything and then end up rating time with their offsprings as less enjoyable than house chores.
  • New fathers declare they wouldn’t trade the time with their newborn for anything but actually end up working more after the child is born than before.
  • People will skip the appetizer at a restaurant only to gorge themselves on desert an hour later, followed by a drink or two.
But few INTJs suffer from this delusion. Further still regret the decisions they make – whether that be a career change or another shot of tequila with the boys at the bar. Most times they learn and the decisions improve over time, but they’re never dragged out and never drag them down with undecisiviness.
The reason why INTJs are rarely dissatisfied with actions they take is because they base their decisions on information, not on their values. This takes away an important self-conflicting component of having to constantly evaluate each decision against a list of personal values they hold. As they naturally develop more and more systematized knowledge about various topics the decisions not only improve but they also being to require less and less resources (both in time and in personal energy) to make.
Lets say and INTJ evaluates effects of healthy eating on the length and quality of life. It’s a rather straight-forward correlation: eat better, do some jump-and-jacks once in a while and you’ll live a few years longer. This is where most people stop evaluating facts. Not an INTJ! Once they have the facts lined up, INTJs will then evaluate this information against their personal values.
INTJs evaluate decisions and values upfront. When a situation arises which requires one to make a decision, an INTJ doesn’t need to try to analyze a situation and perform mental acrobatics to get the decision they’ll be happy with – an INTJ just needs to retrieve it and act on it. There’s very little mental energy involved – all the thought is pre-compiled so to speak.
By evaluating common and major decisions against their values up-front, INTJs greatly reduce stress and indecisiveness at a decision point.
They also don’t regret decisions as much as other personality types, because they see actions as arising from a conscious decision, a result of careful observation and evaluation of facts. While this doesn’t always result in optimal decisions, it does absolve an INTJ from feelings of regret – after all, they acted only after careful consideration and not haphazardly.
As a benefit to this pre-evaluation process, INTJS also become aware of their own values. This effectively guarantees that even when everyone around them thinks they made a mistake (by eating the above mentioned brownie) they might not at all feel bad about it.
After all, the years they’re going to extend by healthy lifestyle are not the vibrant, early years. In all likelihood, the longer extended years of life will be at the end: when health is worse (no matter how good it will be you’ll not be feeling like you were in your 20’s when you’re 87), retirement fund is on the way out, your kids see you once a year on your birthday and you need a cane to get around and a pool boy to fetch your cereal from the bottom shelf. And even if your spouse is still around, you’ll not have had sex in years because it just doesn’t worky-worky any more. You’re trading moments of bliss and connectedness with your friends, dates, and mates after a long day of work for a few extra months filled with misery at the very end.
Healthy living might be good for the government – live longer, work better, pay more taxes – but from a personal values perspective it just doesn’t seem like a good trade-off. At least not to an INTJ and not by a long shot. To see the real impact, just extend this to every other area of your life and it’s easy to see why so many people are unhappy with their decisions. They act based on someone else’s values, and then expect to feel good about it when their own values are compromised.
So take the time to discover where you will not compromise. Where the situation doesn’t dictate what you’ll do. Where you’ll live your values by choice, not by what the popular media thinks will sell the most Veggie Chips.