Making Bad Decisions: Wrong Or Incomplete Information

We normally trust people and believe we have the right information. The resulting outcome is akin to chinese whispers, the phenomenon when information is passed on to a lot of people in a chain, leading to distortion and falsification.

The thumb rule here is to seek information from credible, first hand sources.

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Avoiding Bad Decisions

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Making Bad Decisions: Being Intentionally Stupid

Our various cognitive biases make us behave irrationally, even though we believe we are acting logically. If we are tired, in a rush, or are distracted we tend to rush towards a bad decision. Other factors include working with an authority figure or in a group.

The rule to follow is to never make important decisions when one is emotionally weak, tired, distracted, or in a hurry.

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It is easier to portray being virtuous, to create the image, than to actually be virtuous. We are by default programmed to do what is easy and not what is right. If we get too focused on optics rather than outcomes or results, we will start being biased and selfish. We would then be away from our true nature, making decisions because of external factors.

The rule here is to act like you own the company.

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Making mistakes is fine, but making the same mistake over and over is not. We need to make mistakes, and learn from it, or else we will keep living the same year in repeat mode. If we don’t analyse and reflect on our actions, we will never learn from our mistakes and will be unable to calibrate our decision making.

The thumb rule here is to be less busy, and maintain a daily journal to think and reflect on your past actions.

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The real problem is rarely visible in the first instance, as we only look at the symptom or the result. If we let someone else define the problem, we are far away from it. We might be too close to the problem and need an objective view.

The rule is to not let others define your problems

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To make better decisions...
  1. Avoid unintentionally doing something stupid. Never make important decisions when you’re tired, emotional, distracted, or in a rush.
  2. Make sure you're solving the right problem. Never let anyone else define the biggest problem to be solved.
  3. To get unbiased information or information not modified by your source's interpretation, seek it from someone as close to the original source as possible
  4. Learn from your mistakes. Do you have 5 years of experience or 1 year of experience repeated 5 times?
  5. Act as you would want an employee to act if you owned the company.

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The quality of our decisions

We all make decisions. However, few of us realize that the process we use to make decisions is more important than the analysis we put into the decision.

A McKinsey Quarterly survey pointed out that 60 percent of executives thought that bad decisions were as frequent as good decisions.

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What Matters More in Decisions: Analysis or Process?

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The importance of marking a book

Why is marking a book indispensable to reading it? 

First, it keeps you awake, not merely conscious, but wide awake. 

Second, reading, if it is active, is thinking, and thinking tends to express itself in words, spoken or written. The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.

Third, writing your reactions down helps you to remember the thoughts of the author.

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Reading a Book is a Conversation Between You and the Author

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