Why you need to make some decisions alone - Deepstash

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Better Decisions With Others Or Alone

Better Decisions With Others Or Alone

There’s good reason to instinctively seek support from others when faced with difficult choices in life. Anyone who has ever been on the TV show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” knows that there is real power in the wisdom of the crowds, just like all of us who methodically scour through user reviews before pulling the trigger on Amazon.

What most of us tend to forget is that this power comes with limitations and sometimes we make better decisions by going it alone.

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Data Is Better Than Peers

We should consult the data instead of our neighbours when it comes to views and opinions that can be proven (or disproved for that matter) by facts. We are better off sticking to the facts, particularly when making decisions under social influence.

Recent research has shown how subtle cues about the consensus around a given topic can elevate initial inaccuracies into false gospel and drive the entire herd off the cliff.

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The First One To Speak

In typical professional group settings, the first opinion to be voiced (or the one backed by the highest salary) tends to have a disproportionate impact on the rest of the proceedings.

Social conformity and the desire to avoid conflict are also familiar to most. Together, this dynamic duo can steer even the most capable brainstorming group into dire intellectual straits in a matter of minutes, which is why experts such as Adam Grant advocate for brainwriting instead—a process where ideas are first generated individually and only then evaluated jointly.

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The Wisdom Of The Crowds Is Often Wrong

One reason for this is that new and innovative ways of doing things start off as unpopular by definition. Big organizations are also fertile grounds for risk aversion and inertia, both of which slow down the adoption of new ways of doing things regardless of whether there are significant benefits.

That is why most of the breakthrough leaders we know today found success by boldly going against the wisdom of the crowds. Or could you imagine Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos becoming the wealthiest men in history if they had asked Ford or Barnes & Noble for their views on their business plans?

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