Life is a sum of all your choices
Decisions. We all have to make them. Sometimes from our own desire, sometimes they are pushed onto us by external circumstances.
Even though they make such a big part of our lives, surprisingly little is devoted to the process of deciding.
How come that some people seem to be better at handling decisions, while others seriously struggle? Have they found
a secret trick? We are all born with different capabilities and deciding comes to someone more naturally than
to someone else.
Luckily, we all are capable of improving our decisions – all we have to do, is just put a little thought into it.
The most important preliminary step to making good decisions is to identify what the real problem is.
There is no use in making a decision that does not really help you with the issue you are having.
To the contrary, it might even hurt you or lead you astray.
After you have identified the real problem, you also have to think about the formulation.
The formulation not only affects how we perceive the problem, but it actually affects
the solving process as well. There are two ways how to phrase a question: a close-ended and an open-ended.
Two types of questions
The answer to this question is either yes or no.
Example question: Should I look for another job?
You cannot simply answer yes or no, the form of the answer is free – it can be pretty much anything.
The usual form is a list.
Example question: What car should I buy?
Convert your question to several close-ended ones
It is easier to answer yes/no questions, therefore try to convert your open-ended questions into the this type.
The conversion process is fairly simple: when you have an open-ended question, first you need to identify possible choices.
Then simply ask a close-ended question for each choice.
As an example, instead of asking:
Whom should I date: Emma, Alicia or Grace?
Ask three yes/no questions for each choice:
- Should I date Emma? Yes/No.
- Should I date Alicia? Yes/No.
- Should I date Grace? Yes/No.
If it is too difficult to select a few concrete choices for your problem, try dividing
possible choices into categories. After you select a category, you can drill down
one level – either to a specific choice or a different, more precise category
(e.g. a brand).
For example, instead of asking:
Should I buy a Toyota Corolla, BMW X5 or Ford F-150? (concrete choices)
Should I buy a family car, SUV or a pickup? (categories).
After you pick one of those categories, the decision gets easier.
Putting it all together
The way to quality decisions is set out. First, think about the problem and find out the underlying issue
you need and want to solve. Taking extra time and putting some effort in this phase always pays off. After you
identified the real problem, think about the question you want to ask. Is the question already so
specific that you can answer it with a simple yes or no? If not, try to make your way through
the problem by first selecting categories of answers and when deep enough, convert them into
In the next articles, we will focus on the specific parts of the process – problem identification, picking up
the right choices and knowing what arguments use.
Now let’s go and make some good decisions with Dilectee.
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