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This Is How To Make Good Decisions: 4 Secrets Backed By Research - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

We all make bad decisions

While we may not like to admit this, we all are making a lot of bad decisions, be it our personal lives, careers or in our jobs. Here is what research says about making good decisions:

  • You need the right information, not more of it.
  • Feelings can be utilized
  • Know your strengths
  • Make a 'good enough' decision

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This Is How To Make Good Decisions: 4 Secrets Backed By Research - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

This Is How To Make Good Decisions: 4 Secrets Backed By Research - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

https://www.bakadesuyo.com/2016/06/how-to-make-good-decisions/

bakadesuyo.com

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Key Ideas

We all make bad decisions

While we may not like to admit this, we all are making a lot of bad decisions, be it our personal lives, careers or in our jobs. Here is what research says about making good decisions:

  • You need the right information, not more of it.
  • Feelings can be utilized
  • Know your strengths
  • Make a 'good enough' decision

The right information, not more

If there is too much information, we tend to make the wrong decision, and even if our decision is well-researched and considered right, we end up dissatisfied. 

The right information, even if less, provides clarity to make the right decision.

Gut feelings vs logic

A gut feeling, or an instinct, is often the right path, and points towards the right decision.

Ultra-rational, logical and unemotional decision-making does not guarantee that the decision taken will be the right one.

Factoring your strengths

A good decision depends on the strengths of the person making it.

If a person is an expert in a field, he can then make an informed decision, while trusting his gut feeling or instinct.

A good enough decision

“A good decision now is better than a perfect decision in two days” - James Waters

Losing valuable time for a perfect decision sometimes backfires, and a good enough decision can work just as well.

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Connecting to people

Don’t be interesting. Be interested.

  • Listen to people and ask them to tell you more. 
  • When they mention something you have in common, point it out.
  • Be enthusiastic and encouraging.

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Common errors when reading people
  • Ignoring context: Crossed arms don’t mean much if the room is cold or the chair they’re sitting in doesn’t have armrests. 
  • Not looking for clusters: It’s a consisten...
Trusting your instincts

Your first impressions are usually pretty accurate. But whether they are wrong or right, first impressions affect us in a big way and we are slow to change them.

You have to be willing to update them quite rapidly. 

Reading first impressions
  • Studies show that if someone seems extroverted, confident, religious or conscientious, they probably are.
  • We all pay more attention to pretty people, and so we tend to take the time to evaluate them.
  • If you want to know if someone is good at their job, watch them do it for 30-60 seconds. 
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Focus On Keystone Habits

Keystone habits lead to the development of multiple good habits. 

Exercise is a good example of this. Once you start to change your exercise habits, it sets off a chain reaction t...

Use “Minimum Viable Effort”

Focus on baby steps. The key to new good habits is to do the minimum and be consistent.

Do not be ambitious at the beginning. That leads to failure. Consistency is what you’re shooting for, so make the hurdle as low as possible.

Make A Plan

Thinking about the details makes you more likely to follow through. 

Just writing down your plan also makes a big difference in effectively committing to your goals.

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Narcissists

They have inflated views of themselves (they think they are better than they actually are).

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Don't deal with them

Narcissists lack empathy, they usually don’t work hard, and in a few weeks to a few months, they make the people around them miserable. And narcissism is very hard to change. So, if at all possible, just stay away.

Kiss Up Or Shut Up

Clinical psychologist Al Bernstein recommends you kiss up to them or at least keep your mouth shut until you can get out of there.

There’s this concept called “narcissistic injury.” Pointing out a narcissist isn’t all they think they are can be like pulling the pin on a grenade. A grenade you have to see every day of your life.

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When you’re reacting, you’re not in control of your life

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Make distractions harder to reach

When you have fewer things to react to or you make it harder to react to them, you’ll be less reactive.

When faced with distraction, keep your goals in mind
Thinking about your long-term goals when you’re tempted by distraction gives your brain a sense of control and can release dopamine which will make you feel better and more motivated.

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Milton Friedman

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Milton Friedman
Think in Years, Not Days

Before jumping to a conclusion, think about the long-term consequences of your decision.

We may respect those able to fling themselves into a hard problem and make a quick choice with seemingly little thought, but making a meaningful decision needs to be done with care for the long-term effects.

Understand Decision Fatigue

It’s important to be aware of what state of mind you’re in before tackling a hard choice.

Decision fatigue happens when the mental energy required to weigh the tradeoffs of our decision becomes too much for us to handle. 

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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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Feelings are summary judgments

Most of the time we don’t second guess them, and even if we do, they often end up overwhelming us. 

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Misunderstanding resilience

Resilience is most times associated with being tough. But that’s not gonna get you very far with feelings. Don't try to be invulnerable. Aim for flexibility instead.

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"Solving" emotions

We have trouble dealing with feelings because the usual problem-solving rules don't really apply to them.

When faced with a problem, we can always avoid it or deny it. But attempting to resist negative feelings won’t work. Any attempt at suppression only amplifies them. We must go from avoidance to acceptance.

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Reappraising Conversations
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Don’t Be Self-Centered

It’s key to connecting with people to suspend your ego; to put your own needs, wants and opinions aside. Anxiety does the opposite bringing your feelings and expectations to the forefront.

Focus on the other person. Simply listen to what they have to say and ask them to tell you more. 

Reappraisal

Just because you feel it doesn’t make it real. Feelings come from beliefs. Change the beliefs and feelings will change.

Research and anecdotal evidence show that the simple act of positively reimagining something can be enough to decrease anxiety.

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The Impostor Syndrome
The Impostor Syndrome

It is the feeling that you are not worthy of your designation, title, position or success.

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The Reality of Impostor Syndrome
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