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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Problem Solving

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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 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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

  • 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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RELATED IDEAS

  • Exploratory indecisiveness: a long and drawn-out struggle to make decisions, even after all the options have been explored thoroughly.
  • Impetuous indecisiveness: quickly making decisions but constantly also changing one’s mind about them.

9

IDEAS

Too Much Choice

A decision-maker may never be able to examine every possible option before making a decision. The assumption that one now has complete information for decision making is in itself somewhat unrealistic.

Satisficers make their life easier and less complicated by accepting good enough and moving on.

Our gut instinct or intuition can come in many forms, like detecting patterns in places where other people only see randomness or having a sudden flash of brilliance which goes against the grain but feels right.

Gathering enough data to make a rational decision also takes up a lot of time, and in today's fast-paced world, by the time one procures all data, the decision becomes antiquated.

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