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Why Do You Always Make Bad Decisions?

https://www.verywellmind.com/why-you-make-bad-decisions-2795489

verywellmind.com

Why Do You Always Make Bad Decisions?
How many decisions do you think you make during the average day? Dozens? Hundreds, perhaps? Psychologists believe that the number is actually in the thousands. Some of these decisions have resounding effects over the course of our lives (like whether or not to go to college, get married, or have kids), while others are relatively trivial (like whether to have a ham or turkey sandwich for lunch).

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Anchoring Bias

Anchoring Bias

A common occurrence of heuristics in which we use an initial starting point as an anchor that is then adjusted to yield a final estimate or value.

Example: estimating the value of an object based on the common price of similar objects.

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Being Too Optimistic

Being Too Optimistic

People who are told that the risk of something bad happening is lower than they expected, tend to adjust their predictions to match the new information. But they ignore the new information when the risk is higher.

Part of this overly optimistic outlook stems from our natural tendency to believe that bad things happen to other people, but not to us. 

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You Often Make Poor Comparisons

You Often Make Poor Comparisons

Sometimes we make poor comparisons or the compared items are not representative or equal.

We often decide based on rapid comparisons without really thinking about our options. In order to avoid bad decisions, relying on logic and thoughtful examination of the options can sometimes be more important than relying on your immediate "gut reaction."

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Mental Shortcuts Can Trip You Up

Mental Shortcuts Can Trip You Up

To make decisions quickly and economically, our brains rely on cognitive shortcuts known as heuristics. Heuristics allow us to make judgments quickly and often accurately, but they can also lead to fuzzy thinking and poor decisions.

To minimize the potential negative impact of heuristics on your decisions, become more aware of them. 

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Think in Years, Not Days

Before jumping to a conclusion, think about the long-term consequences of your decision.

We may respect those able to fling themselves into a hard problem and make a quick choice with seemingly little thought, but making a meaningful decision needs to be done with care for the long-term effects.

Understand Decision Fatigue

It’s important to be aware of what state of mind you’re in before tackling a hard choice.

Decision fatigue happens when the mental energy required to weigh the tradeoffs of our decision becomes too much for us to handle. 

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Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off

Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off

... and boils down to what we give up to attain something. Our mindsets are inclined towards pleasure and resistive towards pain. We normally like to think in terms of gai...

Good and Bad Decisions

Decisions are a cost-benefit analysis of risking something small for the opportunity to gain something big.

  • Good decisions can be: Exercising, meditating for 10 minutes daily, finding the courage and striking up a conversation with someone, applying for jobs that you may or may not get.
  • Bad decisions can be: lying or pretending to someone, driving unsafely, sending angry text messages, or staying up late drinking before an important meeting or exam in the morning.

Trade-offs and Life Values

Trade-offs are not something as simple as flipping a coin. Our values guide us towards what we want in life, and it is not the same for all. Example: Buying a house has a trade-off of mortgage for the next ten or more years. This is subjective and depends on what we value in life.

Indecisive people suffer because they don’t know their inner values and what they care about.

Emotions lead to feelings

Being aware of the constant dance between emotions and feelings could improve your decision-making ability.

  1. Every feeling begins with a stimulus.
  2. The stimulus leads...

Focus on the resulting feeling

We need to understand how any particular emotion (root cause) will translate into a feeling (symptom).

The six emotions are broad categories, while the feelings are specific to describe what is going on in our bodies. For instance, disgust (emotion) may result in 'loathing' or 'detestable' feelings.

When you have to make a decision, always track your feeling to the resulting emotion to find the root cause.

Develop a working awareness

  1. Name what you are deciding.
  2. Name all the feelings you are experiencing in connection with the decision.
  3. Identify the root cause of the feelings you are experiencing in connection with your decision.
  4. Identify the emotions connected to these feelings.
  5. Process the emotion.
  6. Consider if you want to make a decision from this emotion or change course.