Make better decisions by considering what you don’t like
12 January 2022
As one of my mentors in business used to say, “All we do is make decisions.” It was great advice, because when it seemed to me that every alarm bell and warning light was going off, his advice helped me focus on deciding when I sometimes got stuck on analyzing what to do. It was very valuable to be reminded that the end result of what would move me forward was a decision and not analysis.
Decisions are a commitment to a path, usually at the expense of some other path, and each path represents different risks, methods and options. And as the old saying goes, making a bad decision is better than no decision at all. So we need to make them.
But it is critical to be aware of what you are deciding between, meaning comparing your best estimation of what those different paths entail, and then choosing one.
And this begs the question – what are you deciding between? Are you considering only the possibilities that you already (might) agree with? Do you apply some portion of your mental horsepower to analyzing something that you don’t agree with – and doing that honestly, even if it’s only for a short time?
The people and ideas whom we disagree with cannot be 100% wrong all the time, just as we cannot be 100% right all the time, and so it’s valuable to listen to and read what we disagree with very carefully, and consider those things that we disagree with when making decisions in order to choose our best option.
Some questions you can ask yourself as you make your next decision:
- Have I considered – truthfully – everything that I can think of? Even ideas I don’t like?
- Have I given enough thought to those solutions or paths that I disagree with?
- Have I asked someone who will give me an answer I instinctively feel like I won’t agree with? (This is particularly valuable.)
We all have decisions in our past that we actually disagree with and wish now were different. Honestly engaging with ideas and people we disagree with will reduce those bad decisions in the future.
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