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MAKING THE RIGHT DECISIONS

Erstellt von William

17. November 2020

HABITS THAT MAKE YOU A BETTER DECISION MAKER

Knowing how to make good decisions—like what to wear to a job interview or how to invest your money—could be the key to living your best life. And being able to make those decisions in a timely manner and feeling confident about your decision-making skills could save you a lot of time and hassle.

Fortunately, everyone can take steps to become better decision-makers. If you want to become a better decision-maker, incorporate these daily habits into your life:

1 Don’t fear the consequences

Whether it’s choosing between a long weekend at your parents place or a trip to a favourite place ,a new car versus a bigger house, or even who to marry, almost every decision we make entails predicting the future. In each case we imagine how the outcomes of our choices will make us feel, and what the emotional or “hedonic” consequences of our actions will be. Sensibly, we usually plump for the option that we think will make us the happiest overall.

People routinely overestimate the impact of decision outcomes and life events, both good and bad.The hedonic consequences of most events are less intense and briefer than most people imagine,” says psychologist Daniel Gilbert from Harvard University. This is as true for trivial events such as going to a great restaurant, as it is for major ones such as losing a job or a kidney.

So what is a poor affective forecaster supposed to do? Rather than looking inwards and imagining how a given outcome might make you feel, try to find someone who has made the same decision or choice, and see how they felt. Remember also that whatever the future holds, it will probably hurt or please you less than you imagine. Finally, don’t always play it safe. The worst might never happen – and if it does you have the psychological resilience to cope.

2 Go with your gut instincts

It is tempting to think that to make good decisions you need time to systematically weigh up all the pros and cons of various alternatives, but sometimes a snap judgement or instinctive choice is just as good, if not better.In our everyday lives, we make fast and competent decisions about who to trust and interact with.

Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov from Princeton University found that we make judgements about a person’s trustworthiness, competence, aggressiveness, likeability and attractiveness within the first 100 milliseconds of seeing a new face. Given longer to look – up to 1 second – the researchers found observers hardly revised their views, they only became more confident in their snap decisions.

Of course, as you get to know someone better you refine your first impressions. It stands to reason that extra information can help you make well-informed, rational decisions. Yet paradoxically, sometimes the more information you have the better off you may be going with your instincts.

3 Consider your emotions

You might think that emotions are the enemy of decision-making, but in fact they are integral to it. Our most basic emotions evolved to enable us to make rapid and unconscious choices in situations that threaten our survival. Fear leads to flight or fight, disgust leads to avoidance. Yet the role of emotions in decision-making goes way deeper than these knee-jerk responses. Whenever you make up your mind, your limbic system – the brain’s emotional centre – is active.

Emotions are clearly a crucial component in the neurobiology of choice, but whether they always allow us to make the right decisions is another matter. If you try to make choices under the influence of an emotion it can seriously affect the outcome.

All emotions affect our thinking and motivation, so it may be best to avoid making important decisions under their influence. Yet strangely there is one emotion that seems to help us make good choices. In their study, the Chicago researchers found that sad people took time to consider the various alternatives on offer, and ended up making the best choices. In fact many studies show that depressed people have the most realistic take on the world. Psychologists have even coined a name for it: depressive realism.

4 Play the devil’s advocate

Have you ever had an argument with someone about a vexatious issue such as immigration or the death penalty and been frustrated because they only drew on evidence that supported their opinions and conveniently ignored anything to the contrary? This is the ubiquitous confirmation bias. It can be infuriating in others, but we are all susceptible every time we weigh up evidence to guide our decision-making.

If you want to make good choices, you need to do more than latch on to facts and figures that support the option you already suspect is the best. Admittedly, actively searching for evidence that could prove you wrong is a painful process, and requires self-discipline.

5 Keep your eye on the ball

Our decisions and judgements have a strange and disconcerting habit of becoming attached to arbitrary or irrelevant facts and figures.This is likely to kick in whenever we are required to make a decision based on very limited information. With little to go on, we seem more prone to latch onto irrelevancies and let them sway our judgement.

One strategy might be to create your own counterbalancing attachments, but even this has its problems. You don’t know how much you have been affected by an attachment, so it’s hard to compensate for it.

4 Identify the Risks You Take

Familiarity breeds comfort. And there’s a good chance you make some poor decisions simply because you’ve grown accustomed to your habits and you don’t think about the danger you’re in or the harm you’re causing.Identify habits that have become commonplace. These are things that require little thought on your part because they’re automatic. Then take some time to evaluate which of them might be harmful or unhealthy, and create a plan to develop healthier daily habits.

5 Frame Your Problems In a Different Way

The way you pose a question or a problem plays a major role in how you’ll respond and how you’ll perceive your chances of success.Imagine two surgeons. One surgeon tells his patients, “Ninety percent of people who undergo this procedure live.” The other surgeon says, “Ten percent of people who undergo this procedure die.”

The facts are the same. But research shows people who hear “10 percent of people die” perceive their risk to be much greater.So when you’re faced with a decision, frame the issue differently. Take a minute to think about whether the slight change in wording affects how you view the problem.

6 Stop Thinking About the Problem

When you’re faced with a tough choice, like whether to move to a new city or change careers, you might spend a lot of time thinking about the pros and cons or the potential risks and rewards.

And while science shows there is plenty of value in thinking about your options, overthinking your choices can actually be a problem. Weighing the pros and cons for too long may increase your stress level to the point that you struggle to make a decision.

Studies show there’s a lot of value in letting an idea “incubate.” Non-conscious thinking is surprisingly astute. So consider sleeping on a problem.Or get yourself involved in an activity that takes your mind off a problem. Let your brain work through things in the background and you’re likely to develop clear answers.

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