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An understanding of the process of decision making.

You make 35,000 of them every single day!


Some of them big ones.
Some of them small ones.
Some of them life changing.
Some of them not really important.


Can you guess what I’m talking about?




That’s right, according to a variety of studies, the average adult makes approximately 35,000 decisions every day!


Now that may seem like a lot, but think about it…


Do I wear the brown or blue shirt?
Do I drink green tea or black tea?
Do I turn left or right at the traffic lights?


All of these are decisions you make.


So one by one…


They add up – and that leads to many thousands each day.


(Right now, I have made at least 50 decisions so far in writing this, such as – “Do I write this word or another word?”, “Do I use a comma or a dash there?”)


So let’s look at what’s really happening when you make decisions.


Because surprise, surprise…


Your subconscious limbic system is at the heart of all of your decisions.


In the highly recommended book, Decisive (Chip and Dan Heath), the authors talk about the 4 steps involved in decision making:


1. You encounter a choice to make (but your existing beliefs filter this choice so you never really see all the options)
2. You think about your options (but confirmation bias means that you only really think about things you believe to be true already)
3. You make a choice (you believe it was a rational, objective choice but really all the choices you make are emotional and subjective)
4. You live with your choice (even when it may be obvious you made the wrong choice, you are unrealistic and overconfident about how your choice is working)


So you see…


Your so-called rational, objective choices,


….are never rational.
…are never objective.
…are always biased.


So, how can you use this information to help you make better choices?


1. When you are faced with your initial choice, PAUSE and focus on getting at least 3 additional options to the ones you see in front of you. (if necessary, ask others)
2. When you think about your options, make sure you reality- test them and think about worst and best case scenarios and how realistic your choice is.
3. When you are ready to make the choice, check out how strong your emotions are. Remember, the more emotional you are when you make the choice, the less rational your choice will be.
4. Once you have made the choice, prepare to be wrong and to accept that not all the choices you make are the right ones.


Now of course…


I am not suggesting you run through this 4 step process for every one of your 35,000 daily choices.


It would drive you crazy to do this every time you are deciding whether to have green tea with lemon or green tea with jasmine, right?


But for those bigger choices, both professional and personal, this 4 step process can really help you to make wiser decisions.


So I have made a choice to be wiser and more objective about my decision-making.


How about you?


To your happiness and fulfillment.



Steve Neale
“Europe’s Leading Expert on Personal and Professional Growth”


Psychologist, Executive Coach, EI Practitioner, Award Winning Trainer, International Author, Psychodynamic Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Mindfulness Instructor, International Speaker, Creator of the LPS, Creator of the Accredited Masters in High Performance Leadership

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