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Investigating Indecision: Why We Can't Seem to Make Up Our Minds

Actively managing delay

  • Find out how much time you have to make the decision.
  • Wait as long as possible to choose. By giving yourself extra time, you have more opportunities to explore your options and gain valuable insight.

This works best if you're a novice, as an expert generally won’t need to delay a decision.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Investigating Indecision: Why We Can't Seem to Make Up Our Minds

Investigating Indecision: Why We Can't Seem to Make Up Our Minds

https://blog.trello.com/indecision-why-we-cant-make-up-our-minds

blog.trello.com

8

Key Ideas

The 37%

Mathematics dictates that you should take 37% of the time or options you have to simply look and after that, you should commit to the first option that is better than everything you’ve seen so far.

That’s the point at which you have the highest chance—in a display of mathematical symmetry, it’s a 37% chance—of making the best choice.

The brain when we make decisions

The 2 systems of the brain that wok during decision making:

  • System 1 is automatic and quick (like "something feeling off").
  • System 2 is deliberate and slow (like an algorithm).

At times, these systems are at odds with each other, but research shows it's always best to trust an algorithm than your own gut.

Pros-and-cons lists are flawed

There are a few biases they don't address:

  • Narrow framing: the tendency to view an option as your only option.
  • Confirmation bias: our tendency to gather the information that supports our preferred option.
  • Short-term emotion: our tendency to have our judgment clouded when emotions run high.
  • Overconfidence: our tendency to make a decision with too much optimism about how things will play out.

The WRAP technique for decision making

  • Widen your options: challenge yourself to consider alternatives. 
  • Reality-test your assumptions: run small experiments so you can know rather than predict which decision will work best for you.
  • Attain distance before deciding with the try the 10/10/10 approach: How would you feel about this decision 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now?
  • Prepare to be wrong: things could always go wrong. Prepare for it in advance.

Avoid making bad snap decisions

  • Successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and intuitive thinking.
  • Opt for less information; stick to only what is essential. We may feel more confident when doing a lot of research, but this could lead to indecision and analysis paralysis.

Making snap judgments

Snap judgments are most accurate if these things are present: experience and expertise. In other words, we must train our intuition.

Actively managing delay

  • Find out how much time you have to make the decision.
  • Wait as long as possible to choose. By giving yourself extra time, you have more opportunities to explore your options and gain valuable insight.

This works best if you're a novice, as an expert generally won’t need to delay a decision.

Deciding how to decide

Take into considerations these things:

  • Intuition is best used by experts, not novices.
  • Algorithms are better at decisions than the human brain.
  • Take your time (but not too much of it). 

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We take into consideration all available options to minimize our frustration and stress.

Maximizers vs Satisficers
  • Maximizers feel less satisfied even if they make better decisions, since they had so much choice, and choosing the best comes down to some sort of compromise.
  • Satisficers: They are the people that make quick decisions with fewer options and that tend to be more satisfied.

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Your M.F.D. is the minimum outcome you’re willing to accept for a decision.

It’s the outcome you’d be fine with, even if it’s not the absolute best possibility.

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The term sunk cost refers to any cost that has been paid already and cannot be recovered. The reason we can't ignore the cost, even though it's already been paid, is that we're wired to feel loss far more strongly than gain.

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Intuitive and reflective thinking
  • Intuitive and automatic: This kind of thinking is quick and feels instinctive. You duck when a ball is thrown at you unexpectedly.
  • Reflective and rational: This thinking is deliberate and self-conscious. You use this system when you have to decide which route to take for a trip.

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The rational manner

When faced with a difficult dilemma, we should carefully assess our options and spend a few moments consciously deliberating the information. Then, we should choose the best fit for our preferences...

The emotional system
It's only in the last few years that researchers have demonstrated that the emotional system might excel at complex decisions, or those involving lots of variables.

This would suggest that the unconscious is better suited for difficult cognitive tasks than the conscious brain, that the very thought process we've long disregarded as irrational and impulsive might actually be "smarter" than reasoned deliberation.

How emotional decision-making works

Thinking in a rational manner is more effective when there are limited pieces of information.  However, those focused on feelings prove far better in complex conditions

The advantages of emotional decision-making could be undone by a subsequent bout of deliberation, which suggests that we shouldn't doubt a particularly strong instinct, at least when considering lots of information.

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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.

Bias is everywhere

Being aware of your own biases doesn't mean you will be free of them. You need a system that will help prevent your proclivities from taking control.

You're not as smart as you think

It wasn't an individual that got people to the moon. It was all of NASA. 

There should be recognition of how many people really should be involved and the need for mechanisms to deliver smarter decisions.

There is safety in numbers
According to Heath, one study at a mid-sized high tech company showed that a group of leaders thought decisions were six times more effective when they considered two alternatives instead of one. Instead of asking a group for its decision, request the two top choices.

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Negotiation

... is a key life skill, an inherently interpersonal activity that requires a good understanding of human psyche, and it is vital to your success.

Negotiator perform 2 cognitive tasks:
  1. Judgement: Evaluate the content of the available options for its fairness.
  2. Choice: Determine which available option is preferred.
Use a Red Herring

Instead of making one single offer, try offering 3 possible scenarios:

  1.  Something that works for you but can be very expensive for the other party. A win-lose.
  2.  The red herring. Something that is a lose-lose for both parties. An option through which no one wins.
  3. Something that is a middle ground and a win-win for both.
Social psychology shows when you present  more options (the red herring), the other party will rarely decline all the options.

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