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Seek multiple perspectives

One easy and effective way to remove any bias from your decision-making is to ask advice or feedback from others.

People whom you trust will give honest and constructive criticism and point out any blind spots while offering a different point of view.

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The SPADE toolkit

Use the SPADE framework, developed by Gokul Rajaram, when you face difficulty in decision making:

  • S is for Setting: Define the “what,” calendar a timeframe, and clarify the “why.”
  • P is for People: Identify the people who should consult (give input), approve, and a single person responsible for the task.
  • A is for Alternative: As the decision-maker, it’s your responsibility to find feasible and diverse alternatives. Gather critical stakeholders and brainstorm possible alternatives.
  • D is for Decide: Here is when you can solicit feedback from others and have them vote on the best course of action. Keep this private by using tools like email. You could also use anonymous polls.
  • E is for Explain: The final step is to explain the decision via a committee meeting.

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The valuable vs the worthless

Irrelevant information can influence our decision making.

A study asked participants to pick one of three plans.

  1. $59 a year for an online-only subscription
  2. $125 a year for print only
  3. $125 a year for print and online

16% chose the first option, and the remaining 84% the last option. But when the middle option was removed, 68% chose the cheapest option.

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Know and conquer your enemy

Know and conquer your enemy

Our brain relies on cognitive biases over clear evidence. Cognitive bias is the tendency to make poor judgments in a consistent pattern. Our unconscious biases are often so strong that they lead us to act in ways that are inconsistent with reason, our values, and beliefs.

Paying careful attention is the best way to beat these biases. It can only be done if you know the different types of cognitive biases that can influence your thinking.

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Reflect on the past

Take some time out and consider similar past scenarios.

  • How did you make that decision?
  • What obstacles did you have?
  • How did you overcome them?
  • What was the outcome?
  • What did you learn?

Reflecting on the answers can help guide you in making a good decision.

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Consider the opposite

Consider what would happen if you moved in the opposite direction to your choice.

Collect data to support this opposite view and compare it to the data used to support your original decision. Then reevaluate your decision based on the bigger data set.

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Master self-care and self-awareness

Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.

This acronym can be used by anyone to help you master self-care and self-awareness. It encourages you to pause and ask how you're feeling. Feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired makes you more vulnerable to self-destructive behaviors.

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Common cognitive biases

  • The Dunning-Kruger Effect: You believe that you're smarter or more skilled than you are, which prevents you from admitting your limitations and weaknesses.
  • 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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