Your life depends on your decisions and actions, not your situation
- Tony Robbins
Since our decisions shape our life outcomes, one would imagine that people think rationally through their decisions. Sadly, that's not true.
Few people think more than two or three times a year. I've made an international reputation for myself by thinking once or twice a week.
- George Bernard Shaw
Most people think they think but they aren't. They just run on auto pilot, taking the path of least resistance ( or least thought). So how can we make better decisions? Here are some techniques which have helped me immensely.
If you are thinking that's weird or what does that even mean, here's an example:
My mother tongue is Punjabi. I may be an expert in Hindi or English, but I don't feel the same way about the things said in these languages. Your mother tongue is closer to your feelings.
So, if I have to make a rational decision, I think in English. This has two advantages:
First, it improves my command on the language.
Second, it helps me to make a wise, rational, less emotional decision.
This one is my favorite.
When we need to decide on the future course of action, fear of failure can be crippling and may lead to no decision, which in itself may be a bad decision.
So, think to yourself, what's the worst that can happen. What's the best the can happen? What's the average scenario?
What you would realize is that the worst case scenario isn't really that bad and is very easy to recover from.
I have couple of personal examples where I applied this:
Most of the decisions we don't make are based on what's the worst that can happen. Generally, we think ourselves of not having enough food, or money to pay rent. Usually, it's not that bad once you rationally think. So, just thinking clearly about the worst case can help us make a lot of decisions that we don't take.
If you are even a little mathematically bent, you can also use the following formula
Decision value = worst value * probability of worst value + average value * probability of average value + best case value * probability of best case value
probabilistic value =
|Worst outcome||.5||â?¹ 20,000||10,000 (.5 * 20,000)|
|Average outcome||.25||â?¹ 30,000||15,000 (.25 * 30,000)|
|Best outcome||.25||â?¹ 100,000||25,000 (.25 * 100,000)|
So if you are in a job that's earning you â?¹30,000, even if the chance of your failing are the highest (50% in the above example), you still want to take that decision as the cumulative decision value is 10+15+25 = â?¹ 50,000.
You can't just be thinking that most likely you are going to fail and will be stuck at 20,000. You also need to take best case scenario and evaluate accordingly.