Why people struggle with decision making - Deepstash

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Why It’s Hard to Make Decisions (Especially Good, Fast Ones) - Effectiviology

Why people struggle with decision making

  • The main reason why decision-making is hard is that every decision makes us go through a process that is most times difficult and complex, and having difficulties with any part of it can hinder the whole process.
  • The emotional difficulty that we face when we need to pick only one of multiple possible options means that we have to forego several alternatives that we may find appealing. This is associated with the concept of FOMO (the fear of missing out).
  • The decision-making process can be very demanding, from a cognitive and an emotional perspective. Also, the act of making a decision is tiring in itself, since it depletes the cognitive resources.
  • Being tired and sleep-deprived can make it more difficult for us to process information, and more likely for us to suffer from various cognitive biases that get in the way of making good decisions.

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The costs of indecisiveness
  • Not taking action can cost you an opportunity, or cost money and time as you delay.
  • People waiting for you to make a decision can get frustrated.
  • You can feel stress about your indecisiveness, and stress about how you’re making people wait.
How we deal with uncertainty

These are some of the common ways we habitually deal with the uncertainty of a decision. But none of them solve the problem for us:

  • Doing some research. 
  • Writing out a pros and cons list.
  • Asking a bunch of people about their opinion.
  • Putting off the decision.
We are uncertain about
  • What the best choice might be.
  • Whether there will be negative consequences of the choice.
  • Whether we’ll look dumb to others if we make the wrong choice.
  • Whether we’ll feel dumb, or ripped off, and regret it for years to come.
  • Whether we’ll be OK if we make the wrong choice.
Why we are not decisive
Why we are not decisive

The main cause of our trouble with being decisive comes down to this process: cultural conditioning +negative habits.

There are persons that start life from a disadvantaged position in terms of confident decision-making. But we should know that this is still largely constructed not inborn.

Learning to be more decisive

This comes down to pinpointing and getting rid of the habits that increase indecisiveness.

If you feel you struggle to be decisive it's because you've developed habits that increase your lack of confidence when it comes to decision-making.

Uncertainty is a key feature of decision-making

Recognize and accept the fact that you will not be able to control and solve all uncertainty and that you don’t need to. You will be anxious about that, but it's normal.

This will make it much easier for you to simply make a decision and move on.

Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off
Every Decision In Life Becomes a Trade-Off

... and boils down to what we give up to attain something. Our mindsets are inclined towards pleasure and resistive towards pain. We normally like to think in terms of gaining, success, and acceptance.

We forget that there are always two sides of the coin and loss, failure and rejection come hand in hand whether we like it or not.

Good and Bad Decisions

Decisions are a cost-benefit analysis of risking something small for the opportunity to gain something big.

  • Good decisions can be: Exercising, meditating for 10 minutes daily, finding the courage and striking up a conversation with someone, applying for jobs that you may or may not get.
  • Bad decisions can be: lying or pretending to someone, driving unsafely, sending angry text messages, or staying up late drinking before an important meeting or exam in the morning.
Trade-offs and Life Values

Trade-offs are not something as simple as flipping a coin. Our values guide us towards what we want in life, and it is not the same for all. Example: Buying a house has a trade-off of mortgage for the next ten or more years. This is subjective and depends on what we value in life.

Indecisive people suffer because they don’t know their inner values and what they care about.