The 21st Century Skill That Can Make or Break

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“All of us start from zero. We take the right decision and become a hero.”
As ‘life is all about choices’, we stand at crossroads every day to make the right decisions.
Decision-making is one skill that we master over time, yet we are never an expert. Because it has
elements of both intuition and reasoning, which can vary from one individual to another.
Do you know that as per a study, teachers take around 1500 decisions daily (around 3 decisions
per minute)? However, many feel that in reality, this number is way higher.

Undoubtedly, it is high time that we urge students to take part in decision-making as well. For
example, some UK schools involve around 57% of their students in decision-making groups,
compared to 40% globally.
Before going to HOW, let me analyze WHY. Decision-making involves three important skills –
problem-solving, logical reasoning, and emotional intelligence.


Let me tell you a story. Once a samurai came to a master to know where the gate to Heaven was
so that he could escape Hell. The master asked him who he was to which the samurai answered
that he was a brave warrior and the leader of samurais. The master laughed and said that he
looked poor to him. This made the samurai angry and he pulled out his sword towards the master.
The master calmly replied, “This is the gate to Hell and you can open it with your ego.”
The samurai realized his mistake, drew his sword back and apologized. The master explained,
“Now when you are calm, you can open the gate to Heaven.”

We clearly see how all the skills- problem-solving (he wanted to find the gate to Heaven), logical
reasoning (if he killed the master in rage, he would not get an answer), and emotional intelligence
(overcoming anger and ego) come into play.
Sometimes, we know what we want, but our actions (irked by external forces) translate into the
wrong decisions. Hence, by cultivating good decision-making skills in children, we are triggering
other crucial life skills as well.
Mahatria once said, “In your decision-making or making your decisions right, you are always
alone.” So one must take the right steps to land up at the desired result.
Here’s how young minds can make better and informed decisions.


Identify the problem: Without understanding the problem statement, you will never be able to take
the right course forward. Think about what you are trying to solve, and the result you want to arrive
Do your research: Once the great leader, Ghengiz Khan killed his favourite falcon who kept spilling
over his water mug as he was trying to collect water from a stream between the rocks and drink it.
Without knowing the real reason that a stream beyond the rocks had a dead venomous snake in it,
he made a decision and regretted it. So, never make a decision in haste.
Evaluate the options: Think creatively and try to look at the pros and cons of each choice. Simple
deduction tools like SWOT, Six Thinking Hats etc. might help you here. Ask the right question to
arrive at the right answers.
Act on your decision: To get the ripe apples from a tree, you need to sow the apple seeds first. For
good or bad choices, you need to ACT on them. One day, I decided to scribble my thoughts on a
piece of paper, and glad I did, the effects of which multiplied in making me a bestselling author

Look back: You never get second chances in life- this is probably a misnomer. Sometimes, you
do, and so you must have your learnings in place. A bad decision is just a lesson for your next
good one. So, look back, think and introspect.
A study found out that by the age of 12 children can have the capacity to be decision-making
competent. They just need opportunities, big or small, to exhibit their skills, and arrive at their own

It’s up to us – parents and educators to stay indifferent to their skills, or upskill them as enablers to
impart one of the most important life skills of the century and head, from an apt age.


Also featured on Brainfeed

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