How to make better decisions (Part II)

Jan 11, 2008 by

20080111_decision.jpgWondering, from so many choices given, which shoes will the woman take?

Life is all about choices and decisions! Few days ago, I discussed about making better decision against your fear and with your gut. This time, I’m going to share about the forces of making decision that are coming from outside of us!

Life will give you many choices, people will offer you with so many choices, and each one of them will request something from you, your time, your attention and your money. Either to buy their product, to make a deal with them, work with them, to meet their need, to spend time with you, or to help them.

From so many requests which one will you choose?

Many things can influence us in taking the decision, but not all of them will lead us in good decision-making. Reading the Reader’s Digest December 2007 article, “10 ways to make better decisions” has given me insights on the external threats that we need to be aware of…

1. Beware of anchoring effect!

Wondering why sales always showing the usual price tag? that’s a point of influencing people, given a more expensive price, people will anchor towards the given usual price (U.P.).

Here is an interesting research has been done that is shared in Readers’ Digest…

Kahneman and the late Amos Tversky asked participants to estimate the percentage of African countries in the UN. Before answering, they had to spin a wheel with numbers ranging from 0 to 100… Unknown to the, the wheel was rigged to stop at either 10 or 65. This had nothing to do with the actual question, but the effect on the answers was dramatic. On average, participants with a ten on the wheel gave an estimate of 25%; those who got 65 estimated 45%. It seems they’d taken their cue from a spin of a wheel.

10 Ways to Make Better Decision (Readers’ Digest Dec 2007)

Similar to the sales trick, given a cue of usual price, people will think more towards the higher price, people will think more about the benefit and the money they save. instead of the price they need to pay.

Good decision maker need to be aware what is their cue in making the decision, not taking any cue given and anchoring towards that to make decision. Be smart, and don’t believe everything that comes across in front of you.

2. Beware of social pressure!

You may like to think of yourself as single-minded individual, but no-one is immune to social pressure.

10 Ways to Make Better Decision (Readers’ Digest Dec 2007)

We are very much influenced by social pressure in decision making. What if everyone is doing it? We will be tempted very much to do it as well. What if everyone expected you to do it, you will most likely doing it.

Here is what the Readers’ Digest suggested…

If you’re a member of a group, never assume the group knows best, and if you find everyone agreeing, play the contrarian.

10 Ways to Make Better Decision (Readers’ Digest Dec 2007)

So, social pressure is not always a good decision maker, we really need to play our own game, be responsible in our own decision. That’s a way to be a better decision maker!

3. Beware of your emotion!

External pressures will trigger our emotion, some is even purposely made to trigger our emotion, to make the decision out of it. It can be anger, depression or fear! Research has found that emotion is very influential in our decision making. Quoted from the article in Readers’ Digest, taking anger as an example…

A study by Nitika Garg of the University of Mississippi and Jeffrey Inman and Vikas Mittal from the University of Pittsburgh found that angry consumers were more likely to opt for the first things they were offered rather than considering other alternatives. It seems anger can make us impetuous, selfish and risk-prone.

10 Ways to Make Better Decision (Readers’ Digest Dec 2007)

I’ve posted before, an article on “Mindset to win sales trick!“, over there I also share about one emotion called “FEAR of loss”, losing a last-day promotion, it’s one of the serious factor that can lead to the wrong decision.

Emotions affect our thinking and motivation, so it may be best to avoid making important decisions under their influence.

10 Ways to Make Better Decision (Readers’ Digest Dec 2007)

In this part I’m sharing few things that you need to be cautious about in making the decision, and I will share more about things that you can do to overcome these influences in the next part. Do subscribe to the RSS feeds to keep updated.

Please share your comments as well for any thoughts on making better decision.

Thanks and all the best!
Robert

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(photo by Orin Optiglot)

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4 Comments

  1. You have just list out the popular traps most people fall into.

  2. Robert A.

    Raymond, thanks for the comment!

  3. Robert,

    This article makes total sense. We are all influenced by factors we’re not even consciously aware of. I’m reminded of the idea that TV commercials, even ones we know are totally stupid, influence us to buy the advertised products.

    It’s a challenge in this world to be an independent thinker for sure!

  4. Robert A.

    Hi Sol,
    Yes, I agree with you, it can be a trap as what Raymond has mentioned. Above are some of the things that we do really need to be aware of not to make wrong decision.

    Thanks and cheers,
    Robert

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