Optimizing the Decision-Making Process

I can be very analytical at times. I will think things through until I have explored every option, considered every alternative, and double checked all of my facts. Sometimes it gets so far that its debilitating and reaches the point of analysis paralysis.

Other times, I can make a decision in 10 seconds. The choice is obvious and no intense analysis is needed. I weight the options, consider the pros and cons, and make a decision.

But why the two extremes?

An article called: How to Optimize Every Decision in Your Life and Accomplish Nothing had this to say:

“done is better than perfect. It’s more important to keep moving forward with a good decision than to slowly optimize for the best decision every time.”

And I think there is a lot of truth to that. But I do still think there can be benefits to analyzing the options and trying to make the best possibly decision. Really, it is all about balance. There are certain decisions that need very little analysis and can be made in an instant after the alternatives are considered briefly.

Then there are decisions that take a little bit of analysis and consideration. But even with decisions like this, its important to not over-analyze. The best advice I’ve received on this matter went something like this:

“When I’m making a decision, I think about it for a while, but I don’t take too long. I make a decision and move forward. If the decision is wrong, it will become clear to me as I move forward.”

And that is the key. Often, the best way to know which decision is right is to first MAKE A DECISION, then move forward with that decision. As you move forward, things will become more and more clear as to whether that decision was the best decision or not. If you feel it is right, you can continue moving forward. If you feel it is not right, you can sometimes switch the decision entirely, or at least usually make an adjustment. Doing this will also help you become a better decision maker over time and the next decision will be easier than the last.

I also appreciate these comments made on that article:

“Briefly analyze the advise, then shoot……90% of the things you worry about most, amount to nothing but ulcers!” – Jeremy C.

“Sometimes a decision we make by intuition can be more ‘perfect’ than a data-driven decision.” – Seth B. G.

 

 

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