Making good decisions is such an important part of our lives but surprisingly we hardly ever hone the skill necessary to make better decisions. Here are 6 steps to making better decisions to help you better weigh your options.
1. Don’t entirely ignore your feelings
This tip might contradict everything you know about making good decisions. Most experts ask you to not to follow your feelings when making decisions but that can backfired on you. Rational decisions are actually based on feelings.
For example, when you see an unexpected vehicle heading your way, you will slam on the breaks immediately to avoid collision. There is no time to rationalize. According to www.oprah.com, one way our emotions help us decide is by creating a physical response to information we don’t even realize we’ve noticed.
When you slam on the brakes at the sight of an unexpected car, it’s because your subconscious mind has recognized danger and translated it into a flash of fear. You then decide to act on the fear without any conscious thought.
We are not advocating for you to only follow your feelings when you make big decisions in life but we are saying, if you feel a sense of unease with your decision you should look into finding out why.
2. Do what’s best for you
Do not burden yourself about making a decision that would please the majority. You are not going to a popularity contest but making the best decision suited to your needs. Nothing will confuse you more when making a decision than taking a poll about how everyone feels about your decision.
There will always be pros and cons to a decision so listen to your heart and weigh it against your head. Then, make an informed decision and stick to it if no new reliable facts turn up. Stay true to what will work best for you and not for everyone else.
3. Know your goals
Be clear about your goals because you don’t want to make a decision based on the wrong problem. As David Welch, Ph.D., author of Decisions, Decisions: The Art of Effective Decision Making, explains, “People who aren’t self-reflective are going to end up making bad decisions because they don’t really know what they want in the first place.
For example, before you switch jobs, ask yourself: Do I really want a different career? Or do I just want a different boss? Identify your true concern and then make an informed decision.
4. List your must-haves
If you’re trying to buy a computer, list the features you absolutely must have. During this process, you will identify specific features are nice-to-haves and not must-haves. Therefore, go with the computer that meets all your must-haves instead of the one that has nice-to-haves features.Having the list will help you eliminate distraction and focus on making the best decision.
5. Be aware of ‘mind traps’
They can lead smart people to make dumb decisions. For example, a decision taken by a majority gives us a false sense of security which can result in behavior such as buying a stock at a high price instead of buying it at a low price. The majority of the perception is that if the stock is rising, therefore, it must be doing well. Thus, it’s a good time to buy even when the stock price is at an all-time high.
The rational thing to do in order to earn money is to buy when the price is low. Unfortunately, most people don’t think that way so be aware of similar trap thinking that might be popular such as during sales period.
6. Don’t rush
Do not rush into a decision because we tend to make poorer choices when we’re under stress. When you need to make a decision, use your conscious brain to gather the information you need, and then take a break. Go for a walk or a cup of coffee.
The idea is to stop thinking about making choices. You want to give your unconscious mind some time to do its work. The decision you make afterward is more likely to be the right one.