The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.



) -- "Buy on rumors. Sell on news."

How about buying and selling on guts and common sense?

One of the old axioms of making decisions was, "Get all the facts." But it's more difficult than ever to make decisions in our data dump world.

Suffice it to say, there isn't a lack of information, statistics, or experts-at-every-turn these days, nor a spreadsheet package to accommodate a zillion columns in which to capture it all.

I am always heartened when Uncle Warren (that would be Warren Buffet and my wishful thinking I might be a long lost relative) is interviewed about his investment strategies. To paraphrase, Uncle Warren says he only buys what he understands. He cites things that he uses, he likes and where he can connect-the-dots.

Warren Buffett

Consider your own decisions in both your professional and personal choices. Those made under duress, peer pressure, or undue influence have often failed or at least been so anxiety ridden your stress level was off the charts.

Now consider those decisions that just seem "to make sense." They came as naturally and with as much calm as your daily routine upon wakening. They were rooted in a set of values, perceptions, and experience that just encouraged saying, "No" or "Yes."

That's what I'm talking about.

I know, I know you're periodically faced with a having to make a decision about something you know little or nothing about. When that happens consider this six-step process:

1. Do your homework

2. Seek out professional/expert advice

3. Weigh possible decisions on the long-term impact potential on reputation

4. Whenever possible give yourself at least 24 hours to ponder the decision

5. Realize the final decision is yours to defend

6. Act with confidence or not at all

Regardless of the decision facing you, there will be ramifications often leading to other decisions. This is why certainty is so important. And certainty comes from a combination of head and heart consideration. It is heuristic in nature leaning heavily on past experience. It is also a crapshoot.

While it is convenient to blame bad advice, circumstances beyond your control, or some other bogeyman, the reality is that you are responsible for the deicisons you make - perhaps not the cirmcumstances in which they must be made, but you determine the next step.

When you find yourself faced with a decision for investing, buying, staying, leaving, doing or not doing something, consider the aforementioned seven steps and use some common sense and your gut to sleep better, move forward, and hold your head up as the decision maker for your life.

This commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet guest contributor program. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of TheStreet or its management.