We spend so much time in our lives trying to make up our minds on what we want. Effective decision making always seems to be an impossible goal.
- Big house or a fancy car?
- Should we buy a home or rent?
- Boxers or briefs?
- Eat-in or take-out?
We take up so much vital time trying to decide what to do (and we all know how precious our time really is), when the time needed to make these decisions is so minimal. We’d like to think that we are masters at the decisions that we make, but are we really making the right choices?
It’s possible that the fail-safe decision-making tricks backfire and create the illusion that you are making the right decision. Maybe all this time that you’ve just taken to read this is a complete waste of time? How do we really know how to make the right decisions in the most logical and rational sense? I’m here to tell you!
Let’s look at the importance of decision making and how you can improve our decision making process:
Sometimes two heads are better than one. Making decisions with a friend or loved one may seem like a great way to consider different perspectives, but the opposite is true. In a recent study by Psychology Science, they have found that using two heads collaboratively to make a decision makes people more likely to reject outside information. Individuals tend to consider input from others more carefully than pairs do, leading to better decision-making overall. If you to improve decision making in your life, you need to learn to trust yourself.
Sometimes we can make decisions using emotion rather than logic. This really doesn’t produce the best results when trying to make the best and most reasonable choices. Try thinking in a non-native tongue (if you speak another language), which researchers suggest might help create emotional distance in decision-making. In a recent Psychology Science study, when participants were asked to assess risks – e.g., keep one dollar now or flip a coin to earn $1.50- they made smarter decisions when the problem was presented in a language which they were proficient but not fluent.
This applies to picking the best student credit card or deciding where to travel to next.
Some decisions are difficult to make. Most decisions are pretty simple (like starting an online business for free).
You need to stop staring at the 52 varieties of ice cream at the ice cream parlour. It doesn’t matter that much which one you choose. Sometimes we are caught by the paradox of choice (too many choices, that are not that variant in difference). When a decision feels difficult, we often mistake it as important, finds researchers at the Wharton School.
Before letting a non-life-threatening decision paralyze your thought complex, assess the potential impact of the decision. The pink bubble gum flavour isn’t going to make that much of a difference from the cotton candy flavour.
When we make a poor decision, we often look back on it contemplating what we would have done different if we had chance to go back after the fact, leading us to think we’ve chosen wisely. We are masters of our own deception, sadly, and we make excuses for our behavior to avoid ourselves. To avoid misplaced confidence, try revisiting a problem without thinking of your initial decision as inevitable.
To Sum It up…
Try using these tricks when you’re faced with either your next small or big decision. See if it helped you make a more logical choice, and if it did, continue to use the trick that works best for you. I like to think in french when making small decisions that don’t really matter on the outcome, it helps me to choose what I really want rather than what I think I want.
Let me know what trick you think works best for you. You can also learn about the breakfast of champions over at my blog, Channel Positivity.