Sometimes, bad decisions are inevitable. However, there are ways to avoid making too many of them.
How many decisions do you make a day? Let me guess; you can’t figure that out. Several reports claim that we make over a thousand decisions on an average day, some of which turn out to be bad decisions with unfavourable outcomes. Our daily choices are a mixture of little decisions (do you go for the red dress or blue dress) and significant decisions with a lifetime impact (whether or not to quit your full-time job and chase your dreams?)
We often tend to follow our guts and do what “feels right,” which isn’t always a bad idea. However, this method of decision making doesn’t guarantee to make the best decisions, and it often leads us to make irrational choices, increasing the chances of making bad decisions.
While making a bad decision is inevitable, various reasons can lead to making bad decisions and understanding these factors can help you make better choices in the future. To gain insight into these factors, let’s see some reasons why people always make bad decisions.
Five reasons you make bad decisions
1. Unwillingness to gather facts
People can be too much in a hurry to make decisions once they have a pre-notion about the subject. This often leads to the unwillingness to check facts, consider initiative, verify assumptions, or gather additional knowledge. Making choices without full insight into the subject could lead you to make bad decisions. Being unwilling to gather facts would leave you lacking certain information which would have helped your decision-making process.
In most cases, being indecisive is worse than making a bad decision. When faced with a tricky decision; especially involving relatively similar options or continuously changing data, it’s easy to seek more alternatives, or continue to browse through the data.
However, when more options are unavailable, poor decision-makers tend to spend longer time weighing their options and could miss the opportunity due to delay. This becomes an unconscious method of procrastination which would be counterproductive to making the best decision. Being indecisive could make you spend so much time searching for options that it outweighs any benefit having an additional opportunity would bring.
3. Being outdated
Some bad decisions are made because people stick to using the same old techniques or information they’ve always been used to. Such decision-makers may refuse to search for new and accurate information because they feel comfortable with what they already know.
When a bad decision is made in this case, it’s because the data is no longer adequate, or was based on assumptions which aren’t real. Other people could also take advantage of your ignorance to satisfy their selfish interests by offering you lesser options or wrong alternatives.
4. Making a poor comparison
Making a comparison is one of the most utilized decision-making tools; we use our prior knowledge of the value a subject holds to compare other options. Comparison is made base on quality or quantity and helps us select our preferred choice.
However, what happens when you fall victim to flawed comparisons? Or when the objects you compare your options with are not representative or equal? It’s easy to make bad decisions due to poor comparison; we often make quick comparisons without putting much thought and logical reasoning into weighing our options.
5. Being over-optimistic
Sometimes, we can be overly optimistic that it could lead us to make a bad decision; it makes us feel too confident in ourselves or skills that we think we are indispensable and other people are not. Research shows that being overly optimistic can hinder us from making correct decisions. We might be too confident in our abilities and prospects that we believe that our choices are the best ones, and can never be wrong.
These five reasons, amongst others, could lead one to make bad decisions. However this doesn’t have to be your case if you become more careful; if you find yourself always making wrong moves and want to know how to make better decisions, here are ten tips that can help you achieve this.
What to do if you are always making bad decisions
1. Avoid being overly confident with uncertain information
When you’re presented with unclear information, don’t try to interpret it in a way that suits your thoughts or desires. This could make you overconfident with your choices, even though you lack a genuine reason for our certainty. If you have a preference for a particular option and it conveniently happens to be more comfortable or the more familiar one, be sure you’re not unconsciously reframing facts to support something you only wish was real.
2. Take your time
In most cases, you wouldn’t find the “perfect” option as there would always be something better in other alternatives, one way or the other. If you are presented with multiple options, don’t be in haste to make a decision, also avoid wasting too much time weighing your options; both could turn out to be bad decisions.
Wasting time could lead to procrastination and indecisiveness; on the other hand, deciding hast could leave you following your guts. Take your time to draw out facts, and come up with logical reasons why you’re an option is preferred.
3. Know that you don’t always have to decide
Not all decisions are worth making; have you ever been stuck between two options, and neither of them seems right? Unless a decision must be made, choosing a chance, in this case, it isn’t necessary to avoid making a bad decision. It is essential to acknowledge that sometimes you have to make decisions; other times, you don’t have to choose. When no available option feels right, no choice may be the wisest at that moment.
4. Avoid decision fatigue
With too many decisions to make, it is only normal for the brain to get tired; the more choices you have to make in a row, the worse you make the right decisions. If you’ve ever had back-to-back meetings or classes, you certainly would know how exhausted and drained you’ll feel after a couple of them, because your brain would be overloaded with information.
By the time you’re suffering from decision fatigue, your mind begins to find shortcuts, which could either lead you to get impulsive or avoid deciding. Therefore, try to make your most important decisions relatively early in the day, before your decision-making powers begin to falter.
Also read: How to overcome frustration
5. Decide in a stable state of mind
Avoid making decisions when you feel emotionally unstable, or intoxicated. Our state of mind can significantly impact our choices, and choices made with an unsettled mind could often turn out to be a drastic, inconsiderate or bad decision. Whenever you feel uneasy, avoid making any decisions at that moment, take some time out to cool off and regain a stable state of mind to enable you reason correctly.
Anybody can make a bad decision, and there’s no guarantee that after reading this article, you would never make a poor decision. However, if you utilize the information in the above content, you limit your chances of making bad decisions as it exposes you to some knowledge about the decision making.