I recently heard David Marcus, PhD share an interesting way to look at the origin and meaning of the word “decide”.

De-cide: “cide” is the suffix also used in a number of words such as “Insecticide”, “Herbicide”, and “Suicide”. The –cide ending originates from the Latin word caedere meaning to kill. To Decide means to kill off all other options, leaving only one.

So, for a Yes or No decision you “kill off” either the Yes or the No leaving the decided answer. Multiple options decisions (such as whether to eat a salad, a sandwich, or a bowl of soup) require killing off several options leaving a clear choice and the ability to proceed.

For me, this way of looking at the word conjures up a more powerful mental image that may be useful. To decide to quit smoking means “to kill off” cigarettes. As they no longer exist there is no more smoking.

Try it with the next decision you make and see how it works for you.