How to make better decisions in everyday situations and work

Our lives are all about decisions. Actions are decisions put into work. So decision making is one of the crucial skills for everyone to learn. It is more essential than I’ll be ever able to put into words.

Intuition vs. reality

Intuition is quick. It evolved to make most out of uncertain world. And it served us good. I mean really, consciously we can’t even comprehend how much information our subconscious mind is processing on second to second basis. Also, most of the time, decisions made by intuitive thinking are good. But…

Sometimes reality needs more subtle approach. The thing is intuition bases on what are called heuristics. Those are simplified tools, basing mainly on experience and associative memory. Those things are vulnerable to conditions of today’s world. Big scale, extremely small scale, statistics, raw data – those are things our intuitions can’t process correctly on their own.

Then if you standing upon challenging decisions be aware that your intuition can be mistaken. As we all would wish, we are not clairvoyants.

Solution

Here you have a shortlist of questions that will proof you from mistaken intuitions

1.       Is my judgment affected by powerful emotions, such as anger, fear or contempt?

2.       Does the situation allow me to take more time and calm down?

3.       Do I tend to overvalue sympathy when evaluating available information?

4.       Could it be that I misjudge the importance of social proof and general social comparison over objective data and outcomes?

5.       Did I gathered and considered all data; am I satisfied with it or just being lazy?

6.       Am I biased because of stereotype or attribution I made on basis of (first or general) impression?

7.       Can I verify my estimations on probabilities in given situation?

8.       How my particular experience and flair for imagination are affecting my approximations for this problem?

9.       What is then the most rational and optimized decision in this situation, given this data and time to consideration?

10.   And what if I’m wrong? Are consequences and costs worthy of this decisions/investment in the long run? Am I really maximizing pleasure and happiness and minimizing pain and costs?

Przemek Kucia