Here are the four villains of decision making that you should be very much aware of.

So you’ve decided to read this article. Good choice. So how did you choose to do so? You simply love The Factionary. Period! And we love you, too. However (or whatever), that decision wasn’t a mere choice of admiration for us, or the fact that you simply love to learn. That decision was probably influenced by a whole lot of factors, from this, to that, to who knows even what the heck. According to the Heath brothers, Chip Heath and Dan Heath, there are four villains that affect your decision making anytime, and here’s what you should be aware of.



#1. Narrow Framing

This is the tendency that people will think too narrowly and miss options. That’s when you make decisions regardless of what you could have thought of. For instance, choosing to opt for a pumpkin spice latte because you thought it was the only available option, but you could have done otherwise. Here are a few examples of how you make such decisions.

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You shouldn’t ask yourself these questions:

Don’t ask“Should I break up with my partner?” [narrow framing]

Ask“How can I make this relationship better?” [better framing]

Don’t ask“Should I take my family on a vacation?” [narrow framing]

Ask“How can I best use my money to help my family?” [better framing]

Don’t ask“Should I get a new job offer?” [narrow framing]

Ask“How can I make more money?” [better framing]



#2. Confirmation Bias

This is the tendency to think that we have all the information that supports our ideas and disregard any information that opposes it. For instance, just because you have ample knowledge about unicorns doesn’t mean they exist (let us know if you do, anyway). Instead, question yourself and look for clues to argue for that idea, and then take the other side and argue against it.

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You shouldn’t presume the following scenarios:

Don’t think“All relationships are doomed to end.” [confirmation bias]

Ask“What are the causes of broken relationships?” [critical thinking]

Don’t think“Spending money on my family is the most important thing.” [confirmation bias]

Ask“What’s the best way to make my family happy?” [critical thinking]

Don’t think“A high-paying job is the best way to be rich.” [confirmation bias]

Ask“What’s the best way to make more money?” [critical thinking]



#3. Short-Term Emotions

This is the tendency to make choices based upon our emotional experiences. For instance, let say you’re offered a job that pays a lot more than what you’re currently making. You’ll certainly be happy at the prospect of making more money, and this short-term happiness could lead you to accept the job offer without a second thought. You better think twice.

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Consider the following feelings before you decide anything:

If you feel like“I’m still in love with my partner.” [short-term feeling]

Then ask“Is this the right person to start a family with?” [rational thinking]

If you feel like“I don’t have enough money to support my family.” [short-term feeling]

Then ask“What makes my family very happy?” [rational thinking]

If you feel like“I’m very happy that I have a new job.” [short-term feeling]

Then ask“Do I need a new job, or should I start my own business?” [rational thinking]



#4. Overconfidence

This is the tendency of people overestimating their assumptions. People generally think that they know more than they do, and could predict how the future will unfold. For instance, you often feel certain that this or that might happen, and tend to make decisions base on your assumptions. Spoiler alert: your predictions about the future might be wrong.

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You shouldn’t assume the following scenarios:

Don’t assume“I don’t think my relationship will succeed.” [overconfident]

Reason“What are the factors that could end my relationship?” [thoughtful]

Don’t assume“I think spending more money will make my family happy.” [overconfident]

Reason“What really makes my family happy?” [thoughtful]

Don’t assume“I think a high-paying job will make me rich.” [overconfident]

Reason“What’s going to make me more money overtime?” [thoughtful]

So what’s your final decision, will you continue learning from us?


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Sat, Oct 31, 2020.

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