Feb 5, 2013

Tips for making decisions


Very interesting article in NY Times When You Don’t Do What You Meant To, and Don’t Know Why


A long article if you don't like to read in full, these are some of the highlights of the article:
We let emotions play too big a role. They can be set off by situations unrelated to the event. If you’re going on a first date, for example, Professor Gino said, and get caught in traffic, you may feel angry and that can spill over into your date. You may decide it was just a bad match, rather than reflecting on the mood you were in when you arrived.
Most of us tend to be overly optimistic about the future and about own abilities and attributes. The Heaths cite studies showing that doctors who reckoned they were “completely certain” about a diagnosis were wrong 40 percent of the time.
I liked even more a 1997 survey conducted by U.S. News & World Report of 1,000 people, cited by Professor Gino, about who was most likely to get into heaven. Michael Jordan had a 65 percent chance, Mother Teresa a 79 percent chance. But 87 percent of the survey takers decided they were the ones most likely to go to heaven.

So we’re overconfident, emotional and irrational. What do we do about it?


  • Take your emotional temperature. Try to be more aware of where your emotions are coming from and how, even if seemingly irrelevant, they may be clouding your decision.
  • think about a difficult decision is to consider what you would recommend to your best friend.
  • when making decisions is that we should not fear regret too much
  • tend to overemphasize how much regret we are going to feel
So as much as possible, think about your decisions carefully, dispassionately and with as much valid information as possible. Look to sources you normally would not. Question your own beliefs and confidence. And then go for it. If you regret it, well, there’s always another decision waiting to be made.