This is the 4-step method that you can use as a strategy to help you make big decisions.

Can’t seem to make up your mind? That seems obvious; decisions can be tough! That’s especially true when it involves the huge tasks, like starting up a business, choosing a career, or even who to date or breakup with. That awkward moment when you just can’t choose between what to wear on your first date. However, if that’s seems like you’re out of options, maybe its time to beef up your decision making game by trying out this simple four-step method. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a WRAP.


Related media: How To Stop Procrastinating By Reducing Decision Fatigue


Its Not What You Want, You’re Bias

The simple four-step method was laid out by Janet Chang, the author and a human performance engineer, in her Skillshare class “Making Decisions Like a Boss.” If you thought making up your mind was solely up to your brain to decide, then, here’s a spoiler: the human brain is inherently worse at decision making.

In the 1970s, two psychologists, Nobel Prize-winner Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky proposed the concept of psychological bias, also known as a cognitive bias, which describes a series of irrationalities like overconfidence, short-term emotions, and first impressions that affect our minds when making life changing choices really difficult. Unfortunately, simply knowing about these biases doesn’t make you a better decision maker. But, can you improve your inefficiency?



WRAP Up Your Decisions

In 2013, the Heath brothers, Chip Heath and Dan Heath devised a simple strategy that sought to address the challenges facing how tough it is to make up your mind. Their strategy is the acronym “WRAP,” which is simply a four-step mnemonics that tackles the most problematic of the many psychological biases, which the Heath brothers term as the four villains of decision-making. These four steps are:

Widen your options: This step lets you analyze all possible choices your have before taking a decision. This is to avoid narrow thinking.

Reality-test your assumptions: This step lets you see your decision in a more practical sense before you opt for it. This is to avoid confirmation bias.

Attain emotional distance: This step lets you detach yourself from your emotions that’s holding you back. This is to avoid short-term emotional bias.

Prepare to be wrong: This step lets you accept the fact that you could be wrong about your choices. This is to avoid overconfidence.

The method helps you confront these pesky biases in an attempt to make choosing the best answer a whole lot easier. While the WRAP method is popular in business and entrepreneurial discussions, it’s also proven highly effective in all areas of life. Whether you’re looking for answers regarding your finances, your living situation, or even your relationship, give the WRAP method a go to see if it makes your choices easier.



It’s Just A WRAP!

The first villain of bias, “narrow thinking,” is a 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. You can tackle this bias with consciously giving yourself a wide range of options to choose from. This is the ‘W’ in the WRAP mnemonic.

We often tend to think that we have all the information that supports our ideas and disregard any information that opposes it — this is “confirmation bias.” For instance, just because you have ample knowledge of it doesn’t mean your idea is right. Instead, question yourself on whatever idea that is, by pretending you’re a detective looking for clues to argue for that idea, and then take the other side and argue against it. This is the ‘R’ in the WRAP mnemonic.

There’s the “short-term emotion bias,” too, which refers to people’s tendency to make choices based upon emotional experiences. For instance, choosing not to date ever again because of your recent breakup (sorry dear), but that’s not how you should decide. By attaining emotional distance, with the WRAP method, you can give yourself a little bit of time to relieve the stress, and avoid rash decisions. This is the ‘A’ in the WRAP mnemonic.

People tend to think that they know more than they do, and can affirmatively guess the future — this is “overconfidence.” You often feel certain that this or that might happen, and tend to make decisions base on your assumptions. Spoiler: it turns out that your predictions about the future are wrong. You must be willing to accept that you can sometimes guess wrong, and think about it when making decisions. This is the ‘P’ in the WRAP mnemonic.


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Fri, Mar 22, 2019.

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