Decision Making Is A Process, Not An Outcome

 The Wu Li Master does not teach; he “dances” with his student                                                    as he knows the universe dances with itself.  Gary Zukav

I like dancing as a metaphor for decision making. This blog is a result of my recently reading Designing Your Future, 2016, by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. And not so recently The Dancing Wu Li Masters, 1979, by Gary Zukav. My sub-title comes from the first book. And the idea for my title comes from the second book.

The image that the universe dances with itself makes me imagine that life dances with itself. The universe and life are too big and too complex to understand precisely and to control. Seeing them metaphorically as dancing helps understanding. And that leads me to see decision making as a dancing process. As Bill Burnett and Dave Evans point out:Life is a journey, not a destination and decision making is a process, not an outcome. Life is not an outcome; it’s more like a dance.

 A dancing metaphor appeals to me; and to many others. Dancing is the world’s favorite metaphor.Kristy Nilsson. One reason I like metaphor is because it enhances understanding the way we see things — and do things. And decision making is about the way we see things and do things. Choreography is the art of creating and arranging dances. Decision making is the art of creating and arranging choices. It is pretty well agreed today that decision making, like dancing, is an art. Science can assist us in becoming more skilled choosers, but at its care, choice remains an art, Sheena Iyengar.

My writing has always described decision making as a creative process. A process is a series of actions or steps. Decision making and dancing are both a series of actions and steps. Successful decision making and successful dancing have to avoid rigid rules, prescriptions, scientific formulas. In 1989 I wrote, in the Journal of Counseling Psychology: Decision making is a nonsequential, nonsystematic, nonscientific process. And in 1991 I published: Creative Decision Making, Using Positive Uncertainty.

In his book, Gary Zukav leads us by the hand into the dance, introducing us to the new amazing “Wu Li quantum physics”. Still more amazingly, we find that we are able to dance too — that we have always been part of the dance. Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, in their book: Dysfunctional belief: We judge our life by the outcome. Life is not an outcome. Life design is just a really good set of dance moves.

 A good decision is not a decision with a good outcome. A good decision is a decision made with a good process. The decision maker is in control of the process, not the outcome. Decision making has always been like dancing.  This just gives me a chance to reinforce it. Wayne Dyer points out that dancing is also a process, not an outcome.

                     When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor.                                                  It is to enjoy each step along the way

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  1. Eugene Unger says:

    Very slow dancing today , I was notified that two people that I was very close to and loved very much have died. It is life at its conclusion and completion that is beautiful when we know this is God’s plan for those He loves. To be with Him through eternity. See you tomorrow H . G



  2. Beautiful! Feeling almost as passionate about dancing as about decision-making, I have been using this metaphor myself, though quite differently. This post will keep me thinking for a while. However, I don’t agree that decision-making, nor dancing for that matter, are nonsystematic, nonscientific…

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