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Must-Read! The 8 Factors that Influence Decision Making

Default options

Deciding is too much effort so we’re likely to just stick with the default or safer option if it’s already been chosen for us. 

When we get offered too many choices, the same thing happens—we shut down, unable to decide. Often, we end up simply choosing anything, just to get the process over and done with.

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Must-Read! The 8 Factors that Influence Decision Making

Must-Read! The 8 Factors that Influence Decision Making

https://open.buffer.com/decision-making/

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Key Ideas

Default options

Deciding is too much effort so we’re likely to just stick with the default or safer option if it’s already been chosen for us. 

When we get offered too many choices, the same thing happens—we shut down, unable to decide. Often, we end up simply choosing anything, just to get the process over and done with.

Best decision making happens in the morning

This is when serotonin is at it’s natural high, which helps to calm our brain. Thus, we feel less risk averse and so we can face risks and make harder choices.

The part our bodies play in decision-making

If we’re feeling hunger, thirst or sexual desire, that can actually spill over into the decision areas of our brains, making us feel more desire for big rewards when we make choices. 

This can lead us to make higher-risk choices and to want for more.

To make better decisions:

  • Make your decisions in the morning;
  • Eat first: Keep your physical desires taken care of before big decisions.
  • Cut down your choices, right down to a tiny shortlist and you’ll have an easier time.
  • Open the windows: Keeping the CO2 levels low is really important.
  • Use a foreign language: Explain the situation to yourself and replying with your decision in a foreign language and see how differently you process that information.

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Pretend You're Advising a Friend

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Limit The Information You Take In

We usually believe that the more information you have, the better decisions we can make. However, at some point, we cross a threshold where we have too much information. That's when we start to fill in gaps and add weight to information that doesn't matter. 

This makes decision making way more difficult.

Reverse Your Assumptions

You're so prone to continue making the same kind of choices throughout your life that challenging yourself and doing the exact opposite is often the best way to get around this problem. 

The idea here is to confront your default behavior, step outside your comfort zone, and use your imagination to test some completely new ideas.

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Desire or Fear

When you consider your decisions, are you motivated by desire or fear?

  • If you are motivated by desire, you will tend to see the positive in every situation. You...
Internal or External

When you consider making a decision, who do you turn to?

  • If you seek your point of reference internally, you will make the decision for yourself.
  • If you seek your point of reference externally, you will reach out to people for their feedback and validation.
Possibility or Necessity

What drives you in your work?

  • If you are a possibilities person, you focus on the possible choices in a situation. You are likely curious about the potential your job has for growth.
  • If you are a necessity person, you are content not to think outside the box. You prefer being shown what to do and enjoy knowing how to do your tasks well.

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Decision-making errors

Most decision-making errors boil down to:

  • logical fallacies (over-generalizations, comparing apples and oranges, circular thinking)
  • limiting beliefs (underes...
Confirmation Bias

If you already have an opinion about something before you've even tried to figure it out, chances are you'll over-value information that confirms that opinion.

Think about what kinds of information you would expect to find to support alternative outcomes.

Attribution Bias

The “fundamental attribution error,” is when we excuse our own mistakes but blame other people for theirs.

Give other people the chance to explain themselves before judging their behavior.

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