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conf_bias2B

Excellent Decision Making Part 2

  The second major issue you need to watch out for when making a decision is known as confirmation bias. This is basically when you already ha...

narrow frame

Excellent Decision Making Part 1

How do you make decisions? Big, or at least important decisions should be made using some sort of system. But few people actually do more than thi...

two-cartoon-men-yelling

Turn Disagreements Into Mutual Wins...

It's well known that relationships are important. It's also well known that disagreements arise in pretty much all relationships, and they have th...

comfortzone

The Curse of Comfort

  Are you comfortable with how you're life is right now? I hope your answer is "no" because if it isn't, then you're cursed! (more…...

Excellent Decision Making Part 2

conf_bias2B

 

The second major issue you need to watch out for when making a decision is known as confirmation bias. This is basically when you already have an assumption, and then do some research or find evidence that backs up that assumption, so you conclude that it’s correct and move forward. This can lead you to the wrong decision because you only looked for evidence to back up your preconception. Rather than seeing the situation objectively and using evidence to determine your choice, you have an option in mind and look for evidence to back up that option.

So what’s wrong with that? Well, obviously if your assumption or the option that you have in mind is not the best one, then you’ll only be finding evidence to back up a bad option. And you’ll be missing out on the evidence that would support a different, possibly better option. So you could end up making a decision that you think you’ve researched enough and gotten sufficient evidence for, only to find out the hard way later on that the decision was a bad one.

It is better to stay neutral and objective when gathering evidence in order to help you make a decision. Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. And this whole issue of confirmation bias can be pretty tricky, because you’ll likely do it without even noticing that you’re doing it!

So how can you avoid this mistake when making decisions?

The first step is to remember that you could be falling victim to this sneaky foe anytime you have an important decision to make. Doing so will ensure that you don’t look solely for evidence to support whatever preconceived notion you already have in your mind.

Second, you should start gathering evidence for the various options, and the costs and benefits of each – including your preconceived idea.

Third, look for evidence that an option completely opposite or at least very different than your preconceived idea may be a good choice. This seems crazy, but you’ll often be surprised about how the opposite of what you thought, actually turns out to be a better option.

Finally, weigh all of the evidence and select the one with the biggest up-side and smallest down-side. Now that doesn’t mean that should be your only factor in making your decision obviously, but as far as weighing evidence is concerned and avoiding confirmation bias – there you go!

Now, get out there and LEED!


Excellent Decision Making Part 1

concept-of-decision-making

How do you make decisions? Big, or at least important decisions should be made using some sort of system. But few people actually do more than think about the pros and cons of a big decision in order to make their decision. That’s not good enough. Through the next few articles, I’m going to teach you how to make excellent decisions!

When faced with a tough decision, especially an important one or one that will have a big effect on their lives, most people make those decisions in a pretty simplistic way. They usually make a list of pros and cons (whether written or just in their heads), and they probably talk to their friend, spouse, or family member about it to see what they think too. And then they make their decision, but aren’t usually very confident that it was the right decision.

Or sometimes people are simply too afraid of making the wrong decision, so they choose not to decide at all (which is itself a decision actually), and the situation usually doesn’t go well but at least they can hold onto the false belief that it’s not their fault since it wasn’t their decision that made it turn out badly.

But that’s not what people who live lives of excellence do. Instead, they carefully evaluate the different possible options and use a strategy to make the best possible decision they can. They also make a list of pros and cons for the immediately apparent options, and ask the advice of their spouse, friend or family member. But that’s just the beginning.

narrow frameThe next step in making excellent decisions is to realize that you are most likely looking at the decision to be made with a narrow frame. What that means is that if you have a decision where there are two obvious options, those are the only options you consider. That’s a narrow frame. In reality, there are probably plenty other options that you just haven’t considered yet because you haven’t stepped back far enough to look at the big picture.

For instance, let’s say that your laptop stops working. You need a laptop (or at least you really want one), but you only have $500 in your savings account. Since you think that you need a computer, you start shopping around at different stores to see what laptops are available that are within your budget. You find a few that you like, list the pros and cons of each one, ask friends and family what their opinions are maybe, check out the reviews for each of those models, and then make a decision on which one you think would be the best one to buy, and you go buy it. You end up choosing one that’s got the fastest processor for laptops around the $500 price range, has the most memory of the ones you could find, the best screen, and good speakers. And it was on sale so you saved $100! The only thing you had to give up over the next best choice was a back-lit keyboard, a longer battery life, and a couple extra USB ports. So that was a pretty good choice right?

Not really. The first problem here is that your frame was too narrow. You saw that you only had $500 in your savings account so you immediately narrowed your list of options to computers that were less than $500. But why should that be the case? You could have considered that there are many stores that will allow you to purchase a computer and finance it. Maybe you could have opened a store credit card and bought a $900 computer that had everything you wanted using the new credit card, and then used the money you would normally put into your savings to pay the credit card off faster over the next few weeks. Plus, when you open a new credit card at most electronics stores, you get an automatic 10% discount so you would have been able to take advantage of that as well.

Or maybe you don’t even need a laptop since you never bring it anywhere anyway, so you could have bought a desktop computer instead. Desktops are cheaper than laptops generally, and you can almost always get a faster, better desktop computer for the same price or less than you would spend on a similar laptop.WIndows-8-tablet-laptop-pc_500

Or maybe you did take your laptop with you on a regular basis when you left home, so maybe a tablet computer would have been even more convenient and a better option for you.

Or maybe you could borrow a friend’s extra computer or just go to the library and used one of their computers while you waited to get your tax refund back or saved up more money until you had enough to buy the laptop you really wanted.

It could be that the computer you ended up buying on sale for $500 was a good option – but was it the best option? How can you know unless you widened your frame and considered other options as well?

If you want to make excellent decisions rather than just good ones, make sure you aren’t looking at the decision through a narrow frame.

Now get out there and LEED!


Turn Disagreements Into Mutual Wins

two-cartoon-men-yelling

It’s well known that relationships are important. It’s also well known that disagreements arise in pretty much all relationships, and they have the potential of damaging them pretty easily. Not so surprisingly, the topic of conflict resolution has been pretty popular for a long time. And there are tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands of books, articles, and other resources available that deal with the issue of conflict resolution as a result!

And at the risk of getting lost in the sea of options, this article is one more of them – but it’s different than the vast majority! Why is it different? I’m glad you asked! It’s different because it’s based on a method developed by one of the leading experts on this topic, it’s very easy to understand and remember, and it works really well in pretty much all cases. In fact, it allows you to turn a potentially damaging disagreement into a conversation and problem solving process that improves your relationship with the other person and allows for both of you to win!

Want to know what it is? Read more…


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