Do you ever find yourself ALWAYS struggling over a decision, always uncertain of what choice you should make? An article in the Harvard Business Review gives a few ways to help improve your decision making. The article talks about how you need to have a good idea of how desirable each choice is and how the choices you make will have an impact on later outcomes. “Decision making requires both prediction and judgement”
- Be less certain
This involves the phenomenon of overconfidence. If you are very confident that choice A will cause such and such to happen, then you will be more biased towards one decision over the other, which may have bad consequences. If you realize that you may not be as correct as you think you are, you can really evaluate the likelihood of each event and be able to possibly make a better decision.
2. Ask “How often does that typically happen?”
If you are trying to make a big decision, like starting up a company but you are afraid that it is going to fail, you may want to ask yourself historically how often the average companies that are starting up fail. Starting with comparing your decision to other decisions that have worked out or not in the past will help you to figure out the likelihood of the success of your decision. This ties in the base rate, which is the change of some specific event occurring, all things being equal. The likelihood of your plane crashing is very low, and so the fear you have of going on an airplane and the decision to not go to that wedding simply BECAUSE you must go on a plane to get there may not be rational.
While these two ideas can help you improve your decision making, there are still a lot of different factors that get in the way of making the best decisions. Availability can get in the way of you getting on that airplane if you had seen a few plane crashes on the news throughout the week beforehand. Decisions can be tricky because there are so many things that can get in the way and cause you to make an error.