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The Four Villains Of Decision Making

The Four Villains Of Decision Making

When we make bad decisions is usually because of these 4:

  • Narrow framing: the tendency to define our choices too narrowly, to see them in binary terms.
  • Confirmation bias: we are more likely to select the information that supports our preexisting attitudes, beliefs, and actions.
  • Short-term emotion: when we’ve got a difficult decision to make, our feelings churn.
  • Over-confidence: we think they know more than they do about how the future will unfold.


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The WRAP Model for Better Decision Making

It describes the process that “wraps” around your usual way of making decisions, helping to protect you from some of the villains and biases related to decision making:

  • Widen your options.
  • Reality-test your assumptions.
  • Attain distance before deciding.
  • Prepare to be wrong.


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Wide your Options withe Multitracking

Wide your Options withe Multitracking

Focusing is great for analyzing alternatives but terrible for spotting them. When we focus we sacrifice peripheral vision.

Multitracking involves considering several options simultaneously. Multitracking has another advantage too, one that is more unexpected. It feels better.

When you consider multiple options simultaneously, you learn the shape of the problem. To get the benefits of multitracking, we need to produce options that are meaningfully distinct.


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Consider the Opposite

Consider the Opposite

  • Studies found that the confirmation bias was stronger in emotion-laden domains such as religion or politics and also when people had a strong underlying motive to believe one way or the other.
  • Confirmation bias increases when people have previously invested a lot of time or effort in a given issue.
  • Confirmation bias doesn’t just affect what information we seek, but also what we notice in the first place.

Reality-test the assumptions you’re making by developing the discipline to consider the opposite of our initial instincts. It begins with a willingness to spark constructive disagreement.


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The Inside and Outside View

The Inside and Outside View

We sometimes make bad decisions because we are too much into the weeds in our head. There are 2 main views we hold:

  • The inside view - our evaluation of our specific situation.
  • The outside view - how things generally unfold in situations like ours.

The outside view is more accurate, but most people gravitate toward the inside view.


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Sometimes we think we’re gathering information when we’re actually fishing for support.



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The 10/10/10 Technique

The 10/10/10 Technique

To use 10/10/10, think about your decisions on three different time frames: How will I feel about it 10 minutes from now? How about 10 months from now? How about 10 years from now?

Conducting a 10/10/10 analysis doesn’t presuppose that the long-term perspective is the right one. It simply ensures that short-term emotion isn’t the only voice at the table.


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Emotional decision failure

Emotional decision failure

Our decisions are often altered by two subtle short-term emotions:

  1. mere exposure to things we are used to: we like what’s familiar to us
  2. loss aversion: losses are more painful than gains are pleasant.

Loosing sucks and we subconsciously make decisions to avoid losses on the short term, even when we amplify losses on the long term.  


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The future is not a “point”—a single scenario that we must predict. It is a range. We should bookend the future, considering a range of outcomes from very bad to very good.



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You say problem, I say challenge.

Evan Y.'s ideas are part of this journey:

How To Become a Better Decision-Maker

Learn more about leadershipandmanagement with this collection

Understanding the importance of decision-making

Identifying biases that affect decision-making

Analyzing the potential outcomes of a decision

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