Understanding decision making

We need two things to learn from our experiences:



Immediate feedback

Yet, many of life’s problems don’t actually offer opportunities to practice over and over again or don’t give immediate feedback.

Because buying your first home, holding your child for the first time, deciding which school or what job to take…may not allow a lot of space for a do-over. The fact is, you won’t really ever know if you did a great job raising your kid (even if your child graduates at the top of her class). There is no immediate feedback.

Yet, learning takes practice which seems to show up in the small and inconsequential.

If you burn dinner, you can try again tomorrow. If you didn’t like the route you took to work, you can take a different one on the way home.

So, here is what we need to understand about decision making:

1) Your opportunity to practice is going to go down.

Without practice…

2) Your chance to receive feedback will go down.

And without practice or instant feedback…

3) Your decision making is going to go down too.

This is why so many of us struggle when the game is on the line. For most of us, we live comfortable lives, free of risks and unknowns. For that, we trade our ability to make crucial decisions when the stakes are high.

My advice? Find a way to raise the stakes. Failure is not as damaging as we think.