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Mental Models and Making Decisions You Don't Regret

The "Right" Thing

  • Do not regret making mistakes, just learn the lesson and move on.
  • Inaction is more serious than a bad decision.
  • Life has suffering build-in at times, and worthwhile accomplishments take time, energy, and sacrifice.

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Mental Models and Making Decisions You Don't Regret

Mental Models and Making Decisions You Don't Regret

https://dariusforoux.com/mental-models/

dariusforoux.com

7

Key Ideas

Overlooking Failure

Societies with a bias towards success, that are idolizing of successful people usually overlook the decisions that led to failure.

We tend to overlook cases that did not come with a successful outcome. And when we do look at failure, we are often quick to explain why things failed.

Mental Models

The way you look at how something works in the real world is called a mental model. It’s your thinking framework about something.

But when we make decisions, we often don’t think about our framework and immediately jump to a discussion about potential outcomes.

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Fyodor Dostoevsky

“Everything seems stupid when it fails.”

Decisions And Subjectivism

There are no set or fixed good or bad decisions.

The same good decisions become bad decisions if they lead to failure, otherwise, they are lauded.

Focus On The Process

Too often, we skip the process and jump right to deciding. Maybe that’s due to a lack of time, resources, or knowledge— it doesn’t matter.

Whatever your reason is, it’s never an excuse to skip the decision-making process altogether. Because that’s the only way to become a bad decision maker— regardless of the outcome.

Avoiding Regret

We can never predict the future, but we can make decisions we don’t regret.

If we focus on the thinking process, we will always know we did the right thing, so even a bad outcome will not lead to regret.

The "Right" Thing

  • Do not regret making mistakes, just learn the lesson and move on.
  • Inaction is more serious than a bad decision.
  • Life has suffering build-in at times, and worthwhile accomplishments take time, energy, and sacrifice.

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. 
Make Better Choices
  • Seek good information. Be skeptic and never just assume that what you’re being told is always true.
  • Avoid common pitfalls, like making decisions without enough time or in...
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 ...

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.

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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Stress and smart choices

When we are in a stressful situation, we are prone to make poor choices.

Even a little stress can influence our decisions and make us slip up.

Stress motivation

Don't let stress motivate your decisions. When you're feeling the most stress, you'll also feel the biggest urge to make a poor choice.

If you do make a decision while you are under stress, ensure to re-evaluate it when you are calm.

De-stress regularly

When you're under regular stress, you'll never get a chance to make good, rational choices.

If you set aside 30 minutes each day to relax, you will be in a better state to make smart choices.

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10/10/10 Rule

Before making a decision, considers how you’ll feel about this decision in 10 minutes, 10 months, and 10 years.

It’s easy to make short-term decisions that may be beneficial 10 minutes...

Pareto’s Law

In anything we do, there’s always ~20% of activities that will deliver 80% of our desired results.

It’s easy to be wrapped up in ‘busy’ work without ever getting anything done. Pareto’s Law is a useful mental model to be more effective, rather than just be efficient.

Parkinson’s Law

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. So try placing artificial time limitations.

If we’re given three hours to complete a task that normally would take an hour, we’ll find a way to fill those three hours. However, when we’re down to the final thirty minutes, we’re suddenly feeling the pressure to get things done. 

Work on the right decision

The way you frame your decision at the outset can make all the difference. 

State your decision problems carefully, acknowledge their complexity and avoid unwarranted assumptions ...

Specify your objectives

A decision is a means to an endAsk yourself what you most want to accomplish and which of your interests, values, concerns, fears, and aspirations are most relevant to achieving your goal.

Decisions with multiple objectives cannot be resolved by focusing on any one objective.

Create imaginative alternatives

Your decision can be no better than your best alternative.

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Separate decision quality from results

People have a natural tendency to conflate the quality of a decision with the quality of its outcome. They're not the same thing. 

You can make a smart, rational choice but still ...

Luck and Incomplete Information

Why don't smart decisions always lead to good results? Because we don't have complete control over our lives — and we don't have all of the information. 

You can opt not to drink on New Year's Eve, for instance, but still get blindsided by somebody who did to drink and drive. You made a quality decision, but happenstance hit you upside the head anyhow.

Thinking in Bets

Becoming comfortable with uncertainty and not knowing is a vital step to becoming a better decision-maker.

What makes a decision great is not that it has a great outcome. A great decision is the result of a good process, and that process must include an attempt to accurately represent our own state of knowledge.

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Our emotions are short-term biased

Our emotions are obsessed with the present moment because it’s difficult to look past our immediate fears and anxieties. And this prevents good decision-making.

The sweet spot in de...

“Risky” behavior you should consider
  • Propose “moonshot” ideas, knowing that 90% of them will get shot down, but that if one of them gets accepted, it will be a huge boost to your career.
  • Be excessively bold in your dating life, stating exactly who and what you want.
  • Buy difficult books expecting that most of them won’t be useful to you, but also that, occasionally, one will completely change your life.
  • Say yes to every invitation knowing that most of the events/people will be boring, but that occasionally you’ll meet someone really interesting.
Optimizing life for fewer regrets

Most of us are afraid of messing thing up. But we rarely ask, “Would I regret that failure?” If the answer is “no,” then that is absolutely a risk you should pursue.

Sometimes, the right decision becomes crystal clear when put into these terms.

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How To Make Better Decisions
How To Make Better Decisions
  • Analyze objectively your assumptions, feelings and expectations
  • Focusing only on the problem limits options for a solution and leads to energy depletion and decisi...
Situations That Lead To Bad Choices
  • You expect the worst: We focus only on the negative outcomes without giving attention to the possibility of an unexpected positive outcome.
  • You act on impulse: We act quickly, without considering the ramifications of our actions.
  • You cling to fear: The greater fear of failure or loss outweighs the likelihood of great reward.
  • You play victim: False pride comes between higher thought and an empowering choice.
  • You obsess over being in control: The need to be in control, which comes from a deeper feeling of being out of control, directs powerless choices.
  • You ignore good advice: Ego or the identification with a false self-image limits us from receiving help from encouraging input.
  • You overlook your hidden intentions: A deeper intention of wanting to fail keeps us from having to take to take full responsibility.
Life doesn’t happen to us; we are an active participant. We get out of life what we choose.”
Mike Whitaker
All Decisions Are Not Created Equal

  • Small decisions: Impact you for a day, such as what you wear and what you eat.
  • Medium decisions: Impact your life for a year or so, such as deciding to go back to school or take on a roommate.
  • Big decisions: These are made once or twice a year, and successful people use their goals to navigate to the right choice.

Decision making using goals

Successful people have 4 strategies that help them clearly define what they want:

  • They keep 5 prime goals and stay focused on them.
  • They identify the top priority and give it favorable treatment when making decisions.
  • They look for goal and decision overlap, treating this decision with more care.
  • They appreciate momentum, identifying the benefits of continuing to move in the right direction.

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