10 tricks for making better decisions

Who I am
Robert Maurer


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We make decisions all the time, but sometimes we are not even aware of them. At the end of the day we have made dozens or even hundreds of decisions, some are not significant, but others can irremediably mark the course of our life making us take one direction or the other.

But the interesting thing is that when we decide we take into consideration only the most obvious factors, when in reality, behind a decision there are many factors. Obviously, focusing only on the most visible aspects can lead us to make decisions that we can regret.

How to make better decisions?

There is no magic wand that helps us make good decisions, we will never be 100% sure, but we are able to put into practice some strategies that will broaden our perspective, make us think and allow us to decide in a more informed way. .

1. Think in terms of opportunities. When we go shopping, for example, we think in terms of "I buy" or "I don't buy". This prospect inevitably leads to buying something. However, everything changes if we think in terms of savings, if we think that the money not spent to buy an object we can invest in something that will give us greater satisfaction. So, when making a decision, it is best not to think in terms of "all or nothing", but rather we should think in terms of future opportunities.

2. Manage different options. When large companies have a good project in their hands, they do not bet on the single player but on the contrary, increase the opportunities by entrusting the same task to different people, so they can have different points of view regarding the problem. As a result, they can choose the most cost-effective solution. We can apply this reasoning to everyday life as well, and instead of just making the obvious choices, we should learn to broaden our perspective.

3. Ask someone to fix the problem. Problems often come with a load of emotions, in these cases it is difficult for us to find different solutions. However, an external observer has a free mind and less contaminated by prejudices and therefore can give us valuable ideas that we would not even have considered. Remember that often the best ideas come from people completely outside the context of the problem in such a way that every opinion is worth valuing.

4. Use analogies. It is difficult to break free from one's own thought patterns, which often turn into a prison that limits our perspectives. To break stereotypes and make a good decision, we can resort to analogies. For example, Speedo swimwear manufacturers were tasked with creating a garment that would offer less resistance in the water. When they felt stuck they resorted to analogies and started thinking about things that move very fast in the water like torpedoes and sharks. In this way they found their inspiration.

5. Consider a radically different alternative to your own beliefs. When we are faced with a dilemma and need to decide, the options on the horizon are profoundly influenced by who we are, our values, beliefs and goals. But imagine for a moment that you are a completely different person, what would you choose? It is not a question of adopting a solution in which you do not feel comfortable, but by considering alternatives so far from your classical way of thinking you may find a middle ground that you had not considered.

6. Apply the 10/10/10 technique. This is one of my favorite tricks when it comes to making decisions. Before deciding, think about how you will feel during the next 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years, depending on the scale of the decision you face. So you can free yourself from the emotions you are feeling to focus on the consequences. If a decision makes you feel bad or guilty in the future, then it's best to follow another path.

7. Limit your options. Sometimes, the problem with making decisions is that we have too many options. In fact, various studies have shown that when we have many alternatives available we often feel disoriented and therefore increase the likelihood of making the wrong choice. Therefore, it is sometimes advisable to limit the number of options at hand so that you can focus on the pros and cons of each.

8. Check the alternatives. Instead of jumping into the void, one should proceed one step at a time, with all the safety and peace of mind that this entails. One idea is to start small experiments that allow you to glimpse how the different options work and what their consequences are. For example, before choosing a career it would be advisable to spend time with a professional to evaluate the pros and cons of the profession.

9. Imagine the worst case scenario. It is not a question of adopting a catastrophic attitude, but before making any decision it is advisable to also be ready for failure. So, imagine the worst possible scenario. What are the real chances of it going this way? If you are unable to cope with these consequences, it is best to make a more prudent decision. Sometimes, not taking risks is a winner.

10. Meet your priorities. Regardless of the decision you make, the most important thing is to feel satisfied. This is accomplished by aligning decisions with your priorities. Before deciding, consider whether the next step will move you closer or further away from your top priorities.

However, the golden rule when it comes to making decisions is one: you decide, don't let others decide for you.

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