If You Want to Make Better Decisions, Stop Doing This
If you want to make better decisions, stop viewing them as right or wrong.
Now, I’m not talking about ethics or morality, but with the fact that we often fall in love with our preferred choice in a decision that must be made. It becomes the “right” choice which makes everyone else’s preferred choice “wrong”.
When someone disagrees with us, we don’t take it as more information or another viewpoint, it’s them telling us that we are wrong, and we don’t like that. It becomes “my way versus your way” instead of working together to find the best decision.
Confirmation bias also kicks in – we start looking for all the information that agrees with us and dismiss anything that doesn’t.
And all of that hurts us.
Why it’s not right vs. wrong
Here’s the truth: in the vast majority of decisions, rarely (if ever) will we be 100% certain of the outcome. We just don’t know.
It’s like Annie Duke says in her book Thinking in Bets, decisions are like poker – it’s all chance.
The best hand in poker will lose sometimes, and the worst hand will win sometimes. You must use all the information you have (the cards on the table and in your hand) and make the best decision possible whether to play your cards or not.
It’s the same with decisions. We don’t know all the information. We don’t know 100% what the outcome will be. But we can gather all the information possible and make the best decision we can.
Right, and wrong thinking doesn’t allow that.
Think in probability – your level of confidence
Instead of thinking right or wrong, let your goal be to get as much information as possible (as time will allow) so that you can make the best possible decision.
Think about it as probability – your level of confidence in that decision.
A hand in poker may have a 65% chance of winning – and a 35% chance of losing. As cards are laid on the table (as more information is learned) that percentage can go up or down.
It’s the same with decisions. We want to get as much information as possible so we can have the highest level of confidence in our choices.
It’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about making the best decision possible.
When you have this mentality, you don’t avoid other viewpoints, you welcome them – because it helps you make a better decision.
You don’t avoid information that disagrees with you, but you look for it and welcome it – because it helps you make a better decision.
Your team no longer is about “my choice vs your choice”, but it’s about working together to gather all the relevant information – because it helps you make a better decision.
This also helps you prepare for potential downfalls
When you think right or wrong, you don’t seek information that disagrees with you, so you may miss vital information that could cause your decision to fail.
When your goal is to gain the highest level of confidence and seek all the information you can, not only does it help you make better decisions, it helps you prepare for potential downfalls.
Even if your initial preferred choice turns out to be the best, by listening to the negatives about it, you can see more potential pitfalls that may come from that choice – and then prepare for them.
It’s about making the best choice, not about right or wrong
In the end, our goal should be about making the best choice, not about being “right”.
If you realize that you can never be 100% certain about the outcome and work hard to gather all the information you need to make the best choice possible, no matter how it turns out, you can leave satisfied knowing you made the best choice possible.
About the Author
Thomas R. Harris is an author, blogger, business owner, podcast host, and proud foster parent. He owns The Exceptional Skills, which helps people master the skills they need to thrive in work and life.