…because some thoughts are worth remembering
It’s easy to stress about making decisions, because it feels like it will lock in a particular outcome where there is no going back, as with the proverbial die.
There are more variables out there than we can account for. There are more data sets we can gather, whether they come from the Consumer Report articles that tells you which washing machine is the best or polling friends who recently renovated their kitchens. Even the source of data can be hard to determine for decisions that are more abstract, e.g., whether to quit a job or not (research shows that if the thought entered one’s mind, the answer is probably yes in order to optimize for happiness).
The question I ask myself is what is the least number of variables do I want to entertain to arrive at the decision, starting with data sets that are easily accessible to me. Then I ask myself, given each variable, what would I do differently if the data turned out to be x vs. y? If it doesn’t make any difference, I don’t bother with the data, so I can frame the problem more quickly and realize what I wanted to prioritize the decision for.
The quicker trick is to mentally decide one way or another, and dedicate yourself to that decision and see how it feels (a day later, if you can afford the time).
As soon as we can be freed from the notion that the decision itself isn’t the most important aspect of planning, we will probably make a better decision (and end up with a better outcome), because we will have more time to execute the plan with conviction.
“Rather than spending time worrying about making the right decisions, you want to ensure that the decision you make turns out right.”
~Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems
Photo: Capitol building in Olympia, Washington