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The Four Villains of Decision Making

Defeating Decision-Making Villains

  • Counter narrow framing by widening your options. Expand your set of choices.
  • Confirmation bias leads you to gather self-serving information. Analyze and test your assumptions to overcome the bias.
  • Short-term emotion will tempt you to make the wrong choice. So distance yourself before deciding.
  • Prepare to be wrong. Don't be overconfident about how the future will unfold.

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The Four Villains of Decision Making

The Four Villains of Decision Making

https://fs.blog/2013/03/how-to-make-better-choices-in-life-and-work/

fs.blog

3

Key Ideas

Not Making Good Decisions

We are exposed to biases that influence our ability to make good decisions.
  • We are quick to jump to conclusions because we fail to search for information that might disprove our thoughts.
  • We're overconfident. We look for information that fits our ideas and ignore information that doesn't.

Knowing these and other biases is not enough. We need a framework for making decisions.

The Four Villains of Decision Making

  • Narrow framing: The tendency to define our choices in binary terms. We ask, "should I, or shouldn't I?" instead of “What are the ways I could...?”
  • Confirmation bias: People tend to select the information that supports their preexisting attitudes, beliefs, and actions. 
  • Short-term emotion: When we’ve got a difficult decision to make, our feelings occupy our minds. And this doesn't add any new information that could benefit us. 
  • Overconfidence: People often think they know more than they actually do about how the future will unfold.

Defeating Decision-Making Villains

  • Counter narrow framing by widening your options. Expand your set of choices.
  • Confirmation bias leads you to gather self-serving information. Analyze and test your assumptions to overcome the bias.
  • Short-term emotion will tempt you to make the wrong choice. So distance yourself before deciding.
  • Prepare to be wrong. Don't be overconfident about how the future will unfold.

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Pros-and-cons lists are flawed

There are a few biases they don't address:

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  • 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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Common cognitive biases
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  • Confirmation Bias: When you welcome information that you agree with while disregarding evidence that doesn't suit you — even if it's accurate.
  • Self-Serving Bias: When you blame external forces when things are bad, but credit yourself when it's good.
  • Optimism Bias: You believe you are more successful than others and won't experience any misfortune.
  • Availability Heuristic: You believe that whatever comes to your mind quickly is the right decision.
  • Attentional Bias: You only focus on some points while ignoring other aspects.
  • False Consensus Effect: When you overestimate how much others will agree with you.
  • Misinformation Effect: Your memory has been interfered with, changing how you recall past events.
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