Undecided? Keys to Making Better Choices

Many of us struggle when faced with big decisions. Do I stay in my current position or take a new one? Do I move to a new locale? We seek the counsel of trusted friends and family and make a “T” list of the pros and cons. But sometimes the decision still isn’t clear cut.

In their book Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work, Chip and Dan Heath explore the science of decision making and offer tools to help as we make decisions. They lay out four steps to combat what they call “The Villains of Decision Making.” The four steps are:

  1. Widen your options
  2. Reality test your assumptions
  3. Attain distance before deciding
  4. Prepare to be wrong

The first step helps you to see things in a broader context than an either/or limited way. Broadening your options often helps you to see things in a more creative light. When evaluating your choices, consider these questions:

  1. What if my least favorite option were actually the best one? What data might convince me of that?
  2. What’s the most likely way I could fail to get the right information in this situation?
  3. Is there a way to test my options before committing to one?
  4. What would I tell my best friend to do in this situation?

Sometimes the counterintuitive answer is the correct answer, or can lead you to the best decision for your situation.

Making difficult decisions shouldn’t be taken lightly, and the Heaths help with tactical advice to think of decision making in new ways.