Top 10 ways to make better decisions

May 17, 2007

As much as we think of ourselves as extremely rational and intelligent beings, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests otherwise. We are easily primed by things we hear or read. The decisions we take can also easily be influenced by our emotional state, peer pressure or even simply the way the options are framed.

A recent issue of New Scientist went through the 10 things you can do to make better decisions. Like many of the tips on happiness, once read they appear self-evident, but they have empirically been proven to help:

  1. Don’t fear the consequences: if things go wrong it won’t be as bad as you think it will be and you will adapt accordingly
  2. Go with your gut instincts
  3. Consider your emotions
  4. Play the devil’s advocate
  5. Keep your eye on the ball: try not to succumb to the anchoring effect
  6. Don’t cry over spilt milk: focus on future costs and benefits, sunk costs are a think of the past
  7. Look at it another way: pose the question differently to avoid the framing effect
  8. Beware social pressure
  9. Limit your options
  10. Have someone else choose

You can read the detailed analysis of each of these at:
http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg19426021.100&print=true

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