Techniques for Improved Decision Making

Have you ever wondered why the act of decision-making has become increasingly difficult despite the fact that we have more information now than ever before?

Although it may seem cut and dry, the influx of information has caused individuals to question deeply held beliefs, most of which have been passed down through cultural norms and familial traditions. This in turn has created a crisis of relativity when it comes to analyzing data and coming to a single optimal conclusion.

There are two critical forms of data and information that must be examined before making important decisions. The first is the obvious tangible information in the form of reports, articles, research, numbers, etc. The second, and arguably the most important, is less obvious and often neglected all together.

Before we can make informed decisions we have to recognize the filters that information is processed through. No, I’m not talking about government surveillance and privatized media. I’m referring to our personal filters, also known as bias and assumptions, which is the second critical form of data that affects our decision-making.”In order to understand how our biases are affecting our decisions, it is helpful to start at the end of the decision-making process and work backward.”

Here are two questions to ask yourself in order to begin creating a more comprehensive decision making process in your personal and professional life:

  1. What assumptions am I making about the available options and outcomes in this situation?
  2. What is the optimal emotional and mental state I’d like to experience upon completion or commencement of this decision?

Now go back and frame your options in light of the answers you gave to these questions. You may be surprised when new options present themselves in light of your desired outcomes.

We must recognize both the tangible and intangible data that affects our decision-making in order to make truly “informed decisions.”

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