Hard Decisions Made Easier

I am all for bold and decisive action. Better to regret the things you’ve done vs. those you never tasted. Yet, some decisions are hard to take.

Can we stop the cycle of agonizing over our decisions? Can we make group decisions without destructive politics? And how can we ensure that we don’t overlook precious opportunities to change our course? And while we are thinking, are we wasting valuable time with our inaction?

Debating this over the 140 tweeter characters was fun.


But things are a bit more complicated. Having read Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, I simply have to share brilliant brothers Chip and Dan Heath’s insights.

Four key problems derail us when making decisions:

Narrow framing: Exploring few choices and seeing issues as black or white.
Confirmation bias: Only looking for facts that support what you believe, dismissing what points against it.
Short-term emotion: Letting a passing mood affect a longer term choice.
Overconfidence: Being way too sure you know how things will turn out.

Sounds familiar? If yes, why hesitate testing these?

Widen your options: What would you do if your current options disappeared? How else could you resolve the issue? Another solution is to look for others who have solved your problem and imitate them.

Test your assumptions: Consider the alternative. Play devil’s advocate. Better yet, run a small test to see if your theory really works in a controlled fashion before you take big steps.

Get some distance: Ask yourself how you’d feel about this decision 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now and 10 years from now. The long view will help you realize if you’re too caught in the moment. Another tip is to ask yourself “What would I tell my best friend to do in this situation?

Prepare to be wrong: Take the time to sit down and really think about what could go wrong to make sure you’re ready for it.

Because in the end, the right decision, at the right moment, can make all the difference!

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