Want to make better decisions?

Posted on March 21st, by Dr Rob Yeung .

Sometimes it’s tough to know what to do in life.

I was intrigued to read an article from a few months ago on the New York Times website about why we get side-tracked when it comes to making decisions and what we might be able to do about it.

Here are a handful of the quotes that I liked from the article:

  • Most of us tend to be overly optimistic about the future and about own abilities and attributes.
  • So we’re overconfident, emotional and irrational.
  • When short-term emotions threaten to swamp long-term considerations, [researcher] Chip Heath suggests that a simple yet highly effective way to think about a difficult decision is to consider what you would recommend to your best friend.

  • “When we step back and simulate someone else, it’s a clarifying move,” he said.

I’ve often recommended a very similar approach in my books and coaching work with clients.  Rather than thinking about what you would say to your friend, think about what your friend might advise you.

When you’re struggling with something, bring to mind your most compassionate yet sensible friend. What would he or she advise that you do?

Another technique is to think about what you’d regret. Research tells us that 75 per cent of people look back on their lives and regret things they didn’t do; only around 25 per cent of people generally regret things they did do. So if you have a minute, watch this video for the ‘regret’ technique, which is taken from my E is for Exceptional book (which was first published as The Extra One Per Cent):

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