‘The Test’ written by Sylvain Neuvel is the kind of work that takes you on a roller coaster of emotions. Emotions of fear, sadness, pressure and love. Every incident, every situation in the book made me think of how I would react if I was put on the spot and asked to make life and death choices for other people. The book is rather short, but greatly impactful and my article takes inspiration from the same.
The best thing I picked up from this book is the importance and power of decision making. Having just entered my twenties and the stage that I am in life, there’s almost nothing more essential than making good decisions. While that is essential, it isn’t the easiest thing to do. In my opinion, the kind of decisions a person makes reflects his state of mind. I think we make decisions better when we have a clear understanding of a situation and our intentions. Analysing the subject, weighing out pros and cons are things all of us adopt (or are learning to adopt) while we make choices. However, that’s not it and the task does not end there.
Taking ownership of a decision is something we don’t pay much attention to. Well, I think taking ownership of a decision is not only a big deal, but a brave step and definitely the right thing to do. This is especially important when our decisions involve other people and their lives. A lot is at stake when we make decisions for more than ourselves. This should be looked at in the beginning when we are analysing the options to choose from rather than as a consequence when it’s done and that is the only option we have left ourselves with. In the book, one of the protagonists is asked to decide what would be the fate of two individuals. Literally, the terrorist asks him to choose who would be spared and who would be killed by the former’s gun. This is done at intervals of fifteen minutes and at the count of three!
I am quite certain we are all far from having to make life and death choices in life but the need of making decisions under pressure is something we’re not strangers to. Making impulsive decisions without a solid understanding of the situation is trivial and equally dangerous. I understand that we cannot always be acquainted with enough about a situation to make the right decision. Sometimes, you have to go by your gut. To me, that is an art. Yes, I’m only talking about taking impulsive decisions. Why is it an art? I feel, and it’s only my opinion that, we can only be confident in our impulsive choices when we have had a fair share of experience in the area. When we have been through a situation or a hundred situations before that, it changes our way of thinking. You know you have already put in thought before, you know the outcome and thus, you know what to do.
To give you a little advice from my end, I would say the way to inculcate the skill of successful decision making is not escaping a situation ever in life. Face it, think about it and make meaningful judgements for you will reap the fruit of your thought further on.