The lazy man’s guide to better decision making

Jan 19, 2008 by

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I’m sure that you have heard a lot about decision making by considering alternatives, listing down pros and cons, writing them down, etc. But I don’t think lazy person will do that, that’s too troublesome, isn’t it?

What I’m going to share in this article is more about the attitude you need to watch out when making the decision, it’s all in your mind and you too can make better decision if you look out for the warnings and mindset I’m going to share.

The easiest and laziest way to make decision is following our gut! I’ve shared about this in the first part of the series on decision making I have created. As what I have shared in the first part of the series, following our gut can give us better as we have no time to splash it with our doubt, fear or worry, but sometimes it will take consideration, check and re-check a lot of things before we can truly make a better decision.

Tina Su from ThinkSimpleNow.com gave me a comment in the first part of the series as below…

Learn to recognize when your gut is speaking out of fear and when it is speaking out of infinite intelligence.

Tina Su @ ThinkSimpleNow.com


I second her opinion, it’s important for us to differentiate that the gut is speaking out of unreasonable fear, or the infinite intelligence, the one that hint us to avoid silly mistakes. Hence it’s really important to really consider our attitudes and mindset in making the decision to ensure that we are making a better decision…

1. Take responsibility of your decision making

In every decision making we make, we must be ready in taking the responsibility of them. Quoted from Dr. Henry Cloud’s book, Changes That Heal:

We must get in touch with how we are getting hooked into saying yes and not put the blame on the other person.

Dr. Henry Cloud

In the third part of the series (“Let’s Say NO!”), I’m sharing with you the importance of saying NO!, one of them is to avoid taking decision because of the thinking that we are obliged to do it because of the social pressure or thinking that it’s for the sake of relationship.

Saying YES! this way will only lead to the blaming attitude, blaming the other person not to follow our thinking or opinion.

The first guide that I’m giving you is being ready to take responsibility of your decision, ready not to blame others for your decision. When you’re ready to be responsible with any outcomes that you may get, you will most likely think and make decision carefully, and choose the best action that you can take!

2. Involve the whole of you in the process

Another quote from Dr. Henry Cloud in the same book…

Our choices are not true choices unless we’re aware of all the aspects of our identity that go into them – our feelings, attitudes, behaviours, wants and thoughts.

Dr. Henry Cloud

What else you can involve? The point is being aware of all inside you that making the decision. In the second part of this decision making series, I shared with you about the things we need to be aware of in the decision making, namely… wrong anchor/references, social pressure and emotion. These are the dangers in bad decision making.

Check what’s deep down inside you that are making the decision. Is it your fear of loss? Is it your greediness? Obligation? Or on the other side, is that your purpose? Is it your core desire? A step forward to follow your dream? By keeping it checked in the decision making process, we are able to make sure that the decision we are making are good decisions. Involve all within you in your decision making process.

3. Battle your bias

The second point I described above is not easy to do as we may have bias in making decision, bias can come from outside and inside. In the second part of the series, I shared as well about the external bias, such as the usual price reference in a sales promotion, these kinds of reference is targeted to give you some biased perspective that it’s cheap, and you will miss the promotion by not buying it.

However, bias doesn’t come from outside only, there are internal bias that comes from our ego or favouritism, here is what Readers’ Digest is saying about the internal bias…

This bias becomes a problem if we believe we are making a decision by weighing alternatives, when in fact we already have a favoured opinion that we simply want to justify.

Readers’ Digest December 2007 (10 Ways to Make Better Decisions)

What the Reader Digest continues to suggest is playing the devil’s advocate, find an evidence to prove that you’re wrong. The article does mention that it’s hard to do, as we are hardly to be objective in our decision making, one way is embracing your decision making with humility, hence we are willing to admit we are wrong.

Another suggestion is looking out from another perspective or direction, I will say looking out from another person’s perspective can be a good way, an example, instead of thinking about our own benefit, think of others’ or organization’s benefit. Instead of thinking that we need the product at such a bargain price at limited period, think from the perspective of the merchants who need to sell the products.

4. Don’t look for the perfect option

The Readers’ Digest article also mentioned about two types of decision makers, the “maximizers” and the “satisficers”. What are the differences? While the “maximizers” are trying to find the best option or deal available, the “satisficers” are happy when finding something that can meet their needs. Here is the benefit of being a “satisficers” from a psychologist Barry Schwartz, quoted in the Readers’ Digest article…

If you’re out to find ‘good enough’ , a lot of the pressure’s off and the task of choosing something in the sea of limitless choice becomes more manageable.

Barry Schwartz

One way that the article suggest is limiting your option, and another is really to think about what you need, and find the choice that will suitably fill your need. World will offer us with a lot of choices, some looks like a perfect option, but hardly anything is perfect, sometimes a simpler choice is a better choice, it doesn’t have to be “perfect” to satisfy your need.

In conclusion

Learn to make better decision, what you are right now is a result of the choices you have made, what you are in the future, is the result of the decision you are about to make right now! Your choices determines your future, so pick it up carefully, doesn’t have to be perfect but certainly the best that you can pick right now, for what you need, with what you have right now, to achieve your dream, your core desire!

For your success,
Robert

(photo by Wani Abdullah)

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2 Comments

  1. I find that the more I analyse a decision the harder it is to make it Robert. It took me 15 minutes to decide to buy my house. It was very much a gut decision. It takes me three times as long to decide which t-shirt I should buy in a shop.

  2. Robert A.

    Hi Karen,

    thanks a lot for the comments, wow, 15 mins to decide on buying a house, I do really need to learn from you for a fast decision making. I can’t imagine how you do it???

    My opinion on fast and good decision making: we need practice! that’s how I can be a better decision maker, not afraid in making failure to achieve greater success.

    Appreciate your thoughts in the subject!

    Cheers,
    Robert

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