Making decisions can be difficult, even those that appear to be simple and straightforward. Consider the various factors that can hinder this process, and take the necessary steps to avoid them the next time you are faced with an important choice to make.
This is a trait most commonly seen in men or those in positions of power, but overconfidence is one of the major factors that can lead to rash or otherwise poor decision-making. Before you come to any definitive conclusion, make sure that you question yourself about how much you really know about the given situation. We often tend to play up our own abilities or be unrealistic about what we are truly able to accomplish.
Make it a habit to question everything, and you will find yourself making progressively better decisions over time.
Other people have the exact opposite problem. Whereas overconfidence can rush us into making a decision, a lack of confidence or trust in ourselves can paralyze us with fear, inhibiting our ability to make any decision at all.
One of the major disadvantages of drastically drawing out the decision-making process is that the circumstances surrounding the situation can continue to change, meaning that we become less and less qualified to make a decision the longer we wait.
#3: Personal Bias
At times, it can be very difficult to separate facts from emotion. However, personal bias is one of the biggest factors that can cloud our judgment and result in bad decisions—remember the larger picture.
To avoid personal bias, it is helpful to look toward historic evidence of how similar decisions have worked out for others in the past. Additionally, consider the situation from a purely statistical standpoint, and consider the likelihood of each different outcome. Focusing on the black and white can help ensure that you remain objective as you weigh your options.
#4: Too Much or Too Little Information
You generally want a certain amount of information in order to make a confident decision, and too much or too little can obstruct this process. With too much information, it becomes difficult to keep all of the variables straight, and with too little we are left to fill in the gaps with assumptions and personal bias. Try making a list of the things that you need to know, and then boil everything down to the essentials.
Deadlines also fall into this category. By having either too tight a deadline or none at all, you can either rush into a decision, or avoid coming to any sort of conclusion.
#5: Perceived Expectations
In addition to separating yourself from the situation, it’s also helpful to separate other external influences. Your decision may have consequences for a third party, or there may be people who have strong opinions around the best decision. Both of these factors can weigh heavily on your mind and make the decision-making process more difficult.
A good tactic is to consider your own personal values and priorities. If any particular course of action makes you uncomfortable or goes against what you know is right, then it is a clear sign that it is the wrong decision for you.
Moving Forward, Wisely
Remember that you could be faced with any number of these issues at a given moment. You might feel overly confident in one area of your life, and have personal bias in another. Next time you’re weighing your options, consider whether any of these factors could be acting as a mental hurdle between you and a good decision.