How To Make Better Decisions: Understanding And Improving Your Decision Process
It’s common to go with your gut when making decisions, but research shows that this is not the best approach.
To ensure you make smart decisions, it’s important to have a method for decision-making.
That’s why it’s crucial to understand the process of how we reach our conclusions.
One way to improve your decision-making processes is to analyze them and solicit honest feedback from those around you.
This will help you identify potential pitfalls in your current process and make necessary adjustments where needed.
It will also allow you to reflect on what worked well and what could be improved upon in future decisions.
Additionally, engaging in mental time travel can provide insight on how past experiences can help shape future outcomes.
Overall, having a well thought out plan can help make sure that every decision you make is deliberate and informed – leading to both positive outcomes and lessons learned along the way.
Making Good Quality Decisions: Watch Out For The Temptation Of Resulting
When we assess the quality of a decision, it’s all too easy to incorrectly focus on the result instead of taking into account the entire decision-making process.
This mental shortcut is known as resulting, and it fools us into believing that luck played no role in the outcome while considering only particular facets of our decisions.
Too often, we overlook unseen factors that could influence our decisions – like luck or circumstances outside of our control – and end up placing too much weight on what is visible: namely, the results.
This can cause us to repeat the same errors or faulty decisions because we’re not truly examining how we arrive at those outcomes.
Moreover, relying on resulting can lead to negative self-judgement or less compassion for others who experience bad outcomes out of their control.
Ultimately, if we want to make better quality decisions, then we need to let go of this habit and instead step back and look at each choice holistically.
Rather than simply assessing what happened after a decision was made, it’s important to consider every aspect that contributed to making an informed choice — good or bad.
Hindsight Bias: How To Avoid Letting The Outcome Impact Our Evaluation Of Decisions
Hindsight bias is a phenomenon that can drastically change our perception of the decisions we make.
It can often leave us with the false impression that one specific outcome was predetermined or inevitable.
As a result, our recollection of what we knew when making that decision becomes revised to reflect the new knowledge we gained after learning the outcome.
This effect can be extremely misleading, as it blinds us to all the other options and alternatives available at the time of making a decision.
We become convinced that this single path was the only correct one, ignoring all other possibilities in favour of an easily justified hindsight narrative.
The truth is, it’s impossible for us to know everything about all our decisions beforehand, so there’s always going to be unknowns and incomplete information when making a choice.
To help mitigate this problem, experts suggest developing the habit of recording your knowledge before and after a decision has been made – this process known as a “knowledge tracker” can allow us to objectively compare what knowledge was available before and after, helping identify any biases in our thinking and allowing us to learn from mistakes much more effectively in future decisions.
We Can Learn From Our Decisions By Engaging In Counterfactual Thinking
It is impossible for us to learn from our decisions unless we have gathered enough data about them.
We cannot judge an individual decision to be the only possible outcome, rather we need to look at multiple decisions and multiple outcomes in order to understand how we have made decisions.
The key is to accumulate information from a number of decisions in order for our decision-making skills to improve.
Without collecting sufficient data, it’s hard for us to gain any insight into what works and what doesn’t work.
It’s similar to doing a study with just one subject – if you don’t aggregate data from multiple sources, you won’t get any valuable feedback on the results of your decisions.
In order to gain deeper understanding, it is essential that we take into consideration imaginary scenarios as well.
This process known as counterfactual thinking helps us compare different potential outcomes and reflects on our current experience more objectively.
For example, if we are interviewing for jobs, it can be useful to reflect on past interviews and begin imagining potential questions or problematic situations that may arise in past or future interviews.
Imagining these scenarios gives us more data points which can help us put more thought into our upcoming interview performance.
At NaturesNutrition’s no matter the situation, gather sufficient data by reflective thinking on your experiences can help make better informed decisions each time out!
The Six-Step Method Helps Us Make More Informed And Less Biased Decisions
When faced with an important decision, it can be difficult to look at it objectively.
But if you use a six-step method, you can make more informed decisions that ultimately reduce bias.
With this method, you first choose a consideration and come up with realistic potential outcomes.
Next, you identify the positive and negative payoffs of each outcome and roughly gauge how likely they are.
You then compare the probability of outcomes you like to those you don’t before repeating the first four steps for all other considerations.
Finally, compare the preferences, payoffs, and probabilities of each option before making your final decision.
By breaking down your major life decision into individual components and looking at those on their own terms, it allows for facts to guide your decision instead of personal biases or emotions.
This increases the likelihood that whatever choice is made is rooted in logic rather than uncontrolled feeling or beliefs.
In this way, taking The six-step approach offers us a chance to make better decisions without letting our judgment be clouded by external influences or gut instincts.
It’S Better To Express Uncertainty As A Numerical Range To Ensure Transparency And Help Seek Feedback
When you’re trying to decide on the best course of action, precision when it comes to probabilities can help contextualize your level of certainty.
Your phraseology can either leave much open for interpretation, or you can be clear about how likely something is in order to guarantee no misunderstanding.
For high-risk professions like tax attorneys, precise terms for conveying probability are even more important as two people could interpret will be and more likely than not in two very different ways.
To ensure clarity, professionals have agreed upon numerical equivalents such as 90–95% certain for will be and greater than 50% certainty for more likely than not.
This helps avoid any potential ambiguity caused by a lack of mind-reading capabilities.
When expressing probabilities numerically and creating the range of certainty, don’t forget to include a shock test – this tests how surprised you’d truly be if the result turned out outside of what was expected.
How wide should this range be? Wide enough so that something beyond it would truly come as a shock yet narrow enough to provide meaningful information.
Choosing to express uncertainty in numerical terms invites others to help increase that certainty by providing additional information or feedback which should not be ignored under circumstances where decisions carry risk or have implications which may negatively impact one’s quality of life.
By Blending The Inside And Outside Perspectives, We Can Gain An Accurate And Balanced View Of A Situation
When it comes to making important decisions, developing an accurate perspective is critical.
Having an understanding of both the outside and inside views on a given issue can help provide added clarity and lead to better choices.
The ‘outside view’ means seeing things objectively and externally.
If a friend were in the same situation as you, what advice would you provide them? What is true generally when people try to take a certain action? The outside view can also include researching some facts related to a situation so that there’s more tangible information at your fingertips when weighing options.
The inside view looks at the issue from an individual point of view.
It asks questions such as “what do I think about this topic?” and “what do I believe?”.
This consists primarily of intuition and personal beliefs based primarily on one’s own assumptions and biases, however well-informed they may or may not be.
Therefore, understanding how these two perspectives intertwine is key for making sound decisions – An accurate perspective comes from a blend of outside view and inside view.
Acquiring both points of view will allow you to bridge any existing gaps in knowledge or, perhaps, even create new insight into the situation itself.
Take Control Of Your Life With Low-Impact Decision Stacking
Identifying repetitive, low-impact decisions can save you a lot of time and effort.
By recognizing these types of decisions, you can free up your time and energy to focus on more important things – like deciding what to watch on Netflix or picking an outfit.
The key is to prioritize the big decisions.
To decide whether a decision is high-impact or not, ask yourself if it will have long-term effects, positively or negatively on your happiness one year later – this will help you determine if the potential outcome is worth your time and effort.
If it isn’t, then decision stacking is an invaluable tool for maximizing efficiency in low-risk contexts.
Consider trying several options that are easy to quit such as drive different routes to work, ordering different items off the same menu, joining different classes online etc..
This way you build up experience from repeating small decisions which can then inform slow but important ones down the road.
Negative Thinking Is The Key To Goal Achievement
The importance of proactively identifying obstacles to a successful outcome cannot be understated.
If you can anticipate potential roadblocks before they arise, you will be much better prepared to handle any issues arising along the way.
This is especially true if you are trying to achieve a goal that has proven difficult in the past.
Studies have shown that actively looking for pitfalls that may arise can significantly increase your chances of success.
Psychology professor Gabrielle Oettingen from New York University has spent decades researching the effects that positive and negative thoughts have on goal achievement, and her findings indicate that visualizing failure is more beneficial than visualizing success when it comes to achieving long-term goals.
In one study related to weight loss, those who imagined themselves coming up short in their attempt at losing over 50 pounds lost an average of 26 pounds more than those who solely visualized success for their future selves.
This suggests that proactively imagining possible ways a plan could go wrong helps us avoid them in real life – something Professor Oettingen refers to as mental contrasting.
Similarly, researchers recommend utilizing mental time travel as another tool for anticipating potential outcomes when deciding on an ambitious goal.
Through this exercise, you imagine yourself at some point in the future relative to your decision and ask yourself why it succeeded or failed – this is known as prospective hindsight.
Additionally, it’s also beneficial to practice what psychologist Gary Klein calls “premortems”, where you brainstorm reasons a particular plan would fail before it even gets started so that you can proactively plan around those likely pitfalls ahead of time.
If You Want Honest Feedback, Don’T Reveal Your Own Opinion First
If you want to be sure you’re getting honest feedback, make sure you don’t give away your own opinion first.
It’s all too easy to unknowingly “infect” the person you’re trying to get feedback from with your own opinion.
This phenomenon is known as the framing effect and it can be seen in any situation where you present information and then ask for someone else’s thoughts.
If you lead off with what your opinion is, there’s a good chance the other person will simply echo back that same opinion rather than be honest about how they really feel about it.
To ensure that everyone in your group gives their honest feedback and opinions, it helps to have some safeguards in place.
For example, if you’re part of an investment committee considering whether or not to invest in a company, consider having members of the team evaluate the proposal privately before coming together as a group and presenting their findings.
This also lets those members who may not be comfortable voicing their input in a group setting still add valuable insight into your decision-making process.
Alternatively, polling individuals by having them write out their responses anonymously on paper helps eliminate any influence based on seniority of team members or other external factors and allows everyone to give their honest opinions freely without fear of retribution for being vocal about unpopular views.
By understanding our human tendencies towards influenced decision making when posed with certain questions, we can take active steps in ensuring each individual’s ideas are heard honestly and fairly regardless of rank or seniority within a team structure.
When it comes to decision-making, one of the most important things to remember is that no matter what we decide, there will be a result or an outcome.
This means that once you can see the result, it’s important to look back and analyze what has gone well and what hasn’t.
One way to do this is by talking about probabilities in precise terms, getting unbiased feedback and tracking our knowledge from the decision making process to the outcome.
Doing this allows us to extract valuable lessons so as to inform future decisions.
For those overwhelmed with too many options, one trick is called the only-option test.
This involves asking ourselves ‘if this was my only available choice would I be happy with it?’ By simply narrowing down your choices into a single question you can avoid analysis paralysis and make a quicker decision.
Ultimately the best way to deal with decisions – big or small – is by being honest with ourselves about how much we don’t know and chipping away at it until we become more educated on our guess.