The Most Effective Ways to Avoid Bad Decisions
Decision making is one of the most important activities in our everyday life. It is a process of making a choice from a number of alternatives to achieve the desired result. Everything seems to be so simple at first sight – you identify a problem, then you generate all possible solutions to it, evaluate all these alternatives, and choose the best one for implementation.
However, people often say that they find it extremely difficult to make decisions in the majority of cases. So, what exactly leads to making poor decisions? Just let`s get this sorted out.
Why do we make irrational decisions so often?
It is believed that our mind has two systems for decision making: intuitive and reasoning. The reasoning system is slow, controlled, and emotionally-neutral, while the intuitive system is fast, automatic, and emotional. It should be noted that neither of them is always right. Poor decisions are often caused by factors that are not only controllable but easy to correct.
There are some mental errors that can influence our decision-making abilities. Survivorship bias, availability heuristic, clustering illusion, overgeneralizing, and catastrophizing are among the most common. Self-awareness is the best way to fight against these errors before we make them.
Relying too much on intuition
Relying on intuition only can be dangerous because it tends to pull from your past experiences and emotions as opposed to hard facts. Intuition is helpful only under certain conditions and its use depends on the decision you are making. Ideally, it is best to combine your analytical and intuitive abilities in decision-making.
It is extremely important to be always aware of what you do and don`t know and evaluate your own performance relying on your common sense if you do not want to face the potentially disastrous consequences from poor decision making. Overconfidence can be tricky sometimes. According to Forbes, over assurance from past success, ignoring or not seeking disconfirming information, and overestimating your accuracy and depth of knowledge about a situation can even make a fool of you.
Decision making lies at the heart of our personal and professional lives. So, we must start to manage our thoughts, regulate our emotions, and behave productively in spite of circumstances we might face.
You should definitely read these great books in order to get a deeper insight into successful decision making:
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip&Dan Heath
Yes or No: The Guide to Better Decisions by Spencer Johnson
Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making by Gary Klein