How Writing Short Stories Improved My Decision Making

What if you could go back and make a different decision? I’m sure you have one or two.

I’ve written several short stories, and rewrote them to seemingly no end. Each time I rewrote a scene, I asked, “What if?”

  • What if the character said, “I love you,” instead of, “I like you.”
    • That would deepen the character’s intention.
  • How would the mother respond if her only son was elected President?
    • What if he was elected President of a foreign, enemy country?

When rewriting a short story, and author evaluates how well their words work to craft the message they wish to convey.

When rewriting our decisions, we evaluate how well our actions reach our results.

Does this mean I have to write short stories?

No. Becoming an expert at writing fiction takes a long time, if you have a full-time job as I have. (It took me seven years to feel quite confident in my fiction writing skills.)

What it does mean is that you’re:

  • Willing to evaluate your decisions: even the ones that succeeded.
  • Willing to be open-minded of other choices.
  • Capable of viewing the potential result of each choice.

Fair warning: Making a different decision doesn’t always mean that it’s better than it was before. Sometimes we decide differently and get a worse result. This is beneficial to know what doesn’t work, and even helps solidify what did work with greater confidence.

How to do it:

  1. Take out a sheet of paper and pen.
  2. List a decision you made and the result you got.
  3. Write at least 5-10 different decisions you could have made.
    1. For fun, guess how different the result might be.

If the decision you’re changing isn’t something important, then evaluating the potential consequence may not be necessary. Regardless, it will be a learning experience.


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