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The Ultimate Guide to Making Smart Decisions - Thrive Global

The World Is Multidisciplinary

We live in a society that demands specialization. Being the best means being an expert in something.  A byproduct of this niche focus is that it narrows the ways we think we can apply our knowledge without being called a fraud.

We should apply all the knowledge at our disposal to the problems and challenges we face every day.

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The Ultimate Guide to Making Smart Decisions - Thrive Global

The Ultimate Guide to Making Smart Decisions - Thrive Global

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/the-ultimate-guide-to-making-smart-decisions-2/

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Key Ideas

You are the sum of your decisions

A few major decisions determine a good portion of how our lives, careers, and relationships turn out. The outcomes of these decision points will reverberate for years.

Even small decisions can matter as they accumulate over the years.

Why We Make Poor Decisions

  • We’re not as rational as we think. 
  • We’re not prepared. We don’t understand the invariant ideas — the mental models — of how the world really works. 
  • We don’t gather the information we need. We make decisions based on our “guts” in complex domains that require serious work to gather all the needed data. 

General Thinking Concepts

  • Inversion — Otherwise known as thinking something through in reverse or thinking “backwards,” inversion is a problem-solving technique.
  • Second-Order Thinking — Ask yourself, “And then what?”
  • The Map Is Not the Territory —The map of reality is not reality itself. If any map were to represent its actual territory with perfect fidelity, it would be the size of the territory itself.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Mental models

They are chunks of knowledge that can be simplified and applied to better understand the world, by identify what information is relevant in any given situation, and th...

Reasons we fail to make the best decision possible
  • We’re (sometimes) stupid: irrational, tired or distracted;
  • We have the wrong information;
  • We use the wrong model;
  • We fail to learn;
  • We go with what's easy over what's right. 
Put a Deadline on Your Thoughts

To avoid over-ruminating about a decision, give yourself a time frame to think about it. 

If it’s a small issue such as what paint color to paint your office, perhaps...

Schedule Your Thinking Time

To avoid thinking about problems all day long, schedule a specific time where you give yourself the freedom to think about the issue you need to make a decision about. 

If thoughts about the issue creep into your brain before your scheduled thinking time, tell yourself “No, I’m going to think about that after dinner, not during this meeting”.

Problem Solving vs. Worrying

Dwelling on a problem, thinking “this is horrible, I can’t handle this” or rehashing things that happened in the past are an unproductive use of your time.

Thinking about what steps you can take to improve the situation or actively thinking of a solution to the problem are helpful toward moving forward. 

one more idea

Use Habits to reduce decision fatigue

By building a habit, you avoid the decision entirely and you can save your decision making energy for other important things.

Use if/then thinking

For example, if someone constantly interrupts you, the rule might be: if the person interrupts me 2 times in a conversation, then I will say something. This technique can help streamline many typical, routine choices we face in our lives.

Save time by not deliberating pointlessly

If the issues on the table have been reasonably vetted, the choices are equally attractive, and there is still no clear answer, then admit that there is no clearly identifiable right way to go and just decide.