The decision-making process is never easy. No matter how many laps you have up your sleeve, you are bound to lose some sleep in big decisions. If you are really struggling, here are some ways to make the process a little easier on yourself as you work through all the possibilities.
Great decisions cause serious stress in your life. Buy a house, get married, get divorced, move around the country, give up your job, or just decide which movie to watch, everyone can drain our will.
Fortunately, you can perform some exercises that help you in the decision-making process. Recently I decided on a cross-country movement. These tips helped me make the decision of where and when I wanted to go.
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Four Tricks to Help You Make Any Difficult Decision
More information on Act as if you were counseling a friend
Big decisions can wreak havoc on your emotions, and darken your mind so you can not make a solid decision. The New York Times suggests that you are pretending to advise a friend by choice.
The reasoning here is really simple: your short-term emotions are in the way of decisions, and that obscures your judgment. It’s hard to get rid of your emotions, but it helps to know that they affect your options.
It only works in certain circumstances. Pretending to give advice to a friend about the cheapest mobile truck does not make sense, but advice on where to move does. This was one of the most useful ideas for me that I tried to choose where the hell I wanted to go next.
I went with an imaginary friend with a similar design to me and tried to think about how I would approach a conversation with them. I imagined the kind of questions I would ask, thinking about the different risks I could mention, and I even came up with a couple of things to investigate in different places.
No doubt you need some mental gymnastics, but it is worth trying at least. You can always look for a friend’s advice, like that, but that way you can do it on the fly without the need of a long phone call.
It’s a fairly common idea that the more information you have, the better decisions you can make. However, at some point, you are crossing a threshold where you have too much information. It’s one of those stupid things that our brains are shooting, it’s hard to counteract.
When we have too much information, we begin to fill in the gaps and add weight to the information that does not matter. Today’s psychology explains what is happening:
The human mind hates uncertainty. Uncertainty implies volatility, randomness and danger. When we realize that the information is missing, our brain raises a metaphorical red flag and says: “be careful, this could be important …” when data is missing, you overestimate its value. Our mind assumes that since we are waiting for the resources to locate the information, it must be useful.
This information is in all its forms. It may be that you have done so much research on a topic that you have passed the “educated decision” point and moved on too much information. Or you may have sought the advice of several friends, who have given you different opinions. However, when you have too much information on the table, you make the decision process much more difficult.
In my case, I certainly reached this point of information overload where I had too many facts and opinions in front of me. Cutting some of that helped. Instead of talking to a group of friends, I saved it to a few that I trust.
The other great achievement I had with bigger and smaller options was that my decision was always reversible. With many of our decisions, we put more weight on them than they are worth. Yes, moving around the country to a new location is a big problem, but it is also completely reversible. If it sucks, you move again.
Likewise, with most smaller decisions, the creation of a two minute rule to make the decision is out of the way for us to move forward. Most of the decisions we make do not matter as much as we think they do, and grateful that it helps keep the amount