Critical thinking is said to be at its most advanced stage in humans. Most of the other species have so or the other type of thinking skills, but their brains have not been wired for critical and rational thinking. The same ability helps us to make better decisions in our life. Decision making is an integral part of our life. We make decisions every day and every time, even when you don’t realize this. For example, you’re reading this blog right now, and subconsciously, your brain is interpreting the information received to make sense out of it and will then decide what to consider true and what’s false. Some decisions are so important that they can change our lives. For example, career-related decisions, choosing a life partner, etc.
All this makes good decision making skill one of the most important skills that we need to master. But, the truth is, there are a plethora of people out there who are not good decision-makers and end up putting themselves in trouble and keep on regretting the decision they took. So, below are some of the hacks you can implement to help you be a better decision-maker.
- Be a rational thinker – Many of us are emotional thinkers most of the time. This means that we are slaves of our emotions. We do what our heart says, not what our brain says. But the problem with being a slave of your emotions is that it also puts you in trouble, and some of you must have realized this. So, be a rational and critical thinker. Analyze the facts, stats, and past outcomes with similar decisions, and then make a decision. Try to take decisions as less emotionally as you can. It might be hard to not follow your heart, but following your brain instead. But this truly minimizes bad outcomes and your regrets in life. Adding onto the same, do remember that taking rational decisions all the time could also be bad, especially in relationships. So, you need to be wise enough to determine where you need to go with your emotions because sometimes you do need to compromise to save the relations.
- The feedback analysis – Peter F. Drucker, one of the most famous management thinkers of the 20th century came up with The Feedback Analysis model for making yourself and your decisions better. You must have realized that many a time when you make a decision, the outcomes are different from your expectations. You think that you know what you’re good at but the results prove you wrong.
The feedback analysis model suggests you to write down your expected outcome while making an important decision, and analyze the actual outcome a year later when you have the outcome plus the aftermath of that outcome. Now, compare your written expectations and the actual result. By doing so, you would be able to figure out the loopholes in your thinking skills, and over time, you would get to know your strengths and weaknesses. Remember, the more your expectations start matching the outcomes, the better you are at evaluating yourself. This will allow you to give yourself feedback and improve in the right direction for a better life.
- The rubber band model – Some of our decisions are so powerful that they can change our entire life. For example, marriage, early retirement, career-related decisions, moving to another city, and many more. These decisions are so important that we get into a dilemma and feel confused. This is where the rubber band model can help you decide the right thing for you. This model suggests that you need to analyze the factors under two categories i.e. What is pulling you to take do that, and what is holding you back. Give a good amount of time in analyzing all the factors in both the categories. After deep thinking and having every single possible factor in your hand, figure out which category is having a greater magnitude. Does ‘What is holding me back’ holds more weightage, or is it ‘What is pulling me to do that’ weighs more. Wherever you see a greater magnitude of important stuff, go for that. This model will maximize your chances of minimizing your regret for that decision.
- The YES/NO rule – This rule comes into play whenever you don’t have much time to think and have to make a quick decision. This rule consists of asking yourself some simple questions to reach the decision. This rule is based on clear parameters. For example, doctors use this rule very much. They ask themselves, does this patient have a fever? Yes or No? Okay, if he has a fever, has he eaten something bad lately? Yes or No? Has he been in touch with any ill person? Yes or No? Based on the answers to such questions, the doctor quickly gets to know the kind of treatment you need. This rule can be used very much in your everyday life. For example, while shopping, clearing out the extra stuff from your home, etc.
- Limit your choices – Who doesn’t like to have more choices while deciding upon something? We all like more options so that we can decide the best for us. It is more satisfactory. Isn’t it? Well, you might get surprised, but the answer is A BIG NO! The opposite is actually true when it comes to deciding while having more choices. More choices mean more confusion which ultimately leads to more dissatisfaction. Here’s a very good example for a demonstration – you go to a store to buy a phone and tell the salesman about your requirements. In situation A, he shows you 2 phones meeting your requirements, and 3 more phones of higher and lower budgets having some different specs. You would check out all the 5 phones and chances are, you might get confused. You might go home buy nothing or if you buy, you still have it in your mind what if I’d have purchased Phone B, C, or D? How were they? Now in situation B, he shows you just 2 phones. Chances are that you would probably buy and feel more satisfied because you chose what you thought is better out of two.
This rule is also helpful for businesses. Make sure not to give your customers too many choices or else they might end up buying nothing.
Good decisions always improve your life. So, make sure that you invest a good amount of time and effort in improving your decision-making skills to develop strategic thinking and leading and easier and happier life.