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Fear of Better Options (FOBO) is The Reason You Can't Make a Tough Decision

Fear of Better Options

... or Maximization, is a behavioral trait that makes us look for all possible options before we decide so that we don't miss out on the best option and regret later, after making the decision.

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

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Fear of Better Options (FOBO) is The Reason You Can't Make a Tough Decision

Fear of Better Options (FOBO) is The Reason You Can't Make a Tough Decision

https://medium.com/swlh/fobo-fear-of-better-options-is-the-reason-you-cant-make-a-decision-294fb91c18f4

medium.com

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Key Ideas

The Freedom of Choice

The freedom of choice is generally perceived to be good, but studies show that too much choice can be a hindrance and can impede the decision.

On the contrary, having fewer choices has shown to provide more satisfaction to the decision-maker.

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.

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.

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Making decisions

Decision making is critical for entrepreneurs. Every day, you have to set out on a course of action, choose tactics, evaluate results, and otherwise choose from arrays of options.

4 common mistakes that can trip you up
  1. Monumentalizing the Trivial. Place a limit on how long you're willing to spend addressing the issue. When the time ends, make your choice and move on.
  2. Dredging Sunk Costs. Estimate how much the decision would take in total to follow through. If the cost is higher than the benefit, change your decision.
  3. Drowning in Data. Identify less than 10 pieces of relevant data that will have a strong impact on your decision's outcome. Then forget everything else.
  4. Do-or-Die Mentality. Realize that every decision is temporary. Use an overall decision-making strategy that stretches over time, not that imagines each moment to be the most critical one for the business.
FOBO: Fear of Better Options

Whether it is deciding what to watch on TV, or which job offer to accept, Fobo (Fear of better options) can affect anyone.

A Fobo-afflicted person may not make a decision due to wanting compl...

Technology accelerates FOBO

Sophisticated apps and social media only accelerate FOBO, giving us unlimited options. We are unable to decide due to a constant flow of new plans, events, invitations or commitments.

Decision-making people: Maximisers

Maximisers compare everything before making a decision, setting very high standards and expectations for themselves.

They often feel disappointed with their final decision after making it.

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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 ...

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.

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