We can make better decisions, if we can avoid the most common decision making traps. Being aware of them isn’t sufficient to avoid them, but a process can help.
Widen options – Narrow thinking leads us to overlook options. We need to uncover new options and when possible consider them simultaneously. Where can you find new options? Find someone who has solved your problem. Look for current bright spots, best practices and analogies.
Reality-Test – In assessing our options, the bias towards wanting to please ourselves, leads us to collect skewed, self-serving information. We can conduct small experiments or test markets to teach us about our assumptions. Why predict, when you can know?
Create Distance – Before deciding, try to create some distance. Short-term emotions cause us to make decisions that are bad for the long-term. In order to avoid this, we need to create distance by shifting perspective. When decisions are painful, we need to clarify our priorities.
Prepare to be wrong – We’re overconfident thinking we know how the future will turn out when we really don’t. We should prepare for bad outcomes as well as good ones.
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