How probability thinking can help you make better decisions?

Life cycle of a decision: Big Vs Small

We sometimes face million dollar questions like,

Should I take Medicine or Engineering?
Should I marry Ambitious A or Docile D?
Should I take this ok job or wait for my dream job results to come back?
Should I quit my job to work on thisĀ  brilliant Startup idea or work to getting the onsite Job and promotion?

These are not similar to decisions like – Pizza or Burger ? or Western or Ethnic? In this case, you can have pizza one day and burger the other or have a small pizza plus a burger. The effects of the decision don’t last long enough to sweat over it.

However, in the first set the effect of decisions may last a very long time. A decision on a car last upto 5 years, an house upto 25-30 years, a career lasts for several decades, decision on a spouse for a lifetime. But we often think through the purchase of a car more thoroughly than choice of a spouse. Give the big decisions its due respect and think through them well. Continue reading How probability thinking can help you make better decisions?

What to do when choices overwhelm you… everyday!

You know the feeling when you stand at popular ice-cream outlets such as Gelato, Baskin Robbins or Natural’s. There are more than a hundred choices. If you’ve had a difficult day at work, you are tempted to walk out as your brain feels the fatigue of taking one more decision from a staggering number of choices. “Let’s just go eat the falooda from the road side vendor”, you say as you walk out. What should you do when you are overwhelmed with choices? Continue reading What to do when choices overwhelm you… everyday!

The magic of planning for the next day

Let’s rewind to your morning today. Did you wake up with purpose, knowing exactly what to do for the next six hours? Or did you open your eyes with your brain all clouded, knowing that you have zillions of things to do, but with no idea about where and how to start? In this confused state, it is very easy to pick activities that need very little effort. For instance, snooze the alarm & stay back in bed. It is very easy to cling to activities that make your brain feel busy, but you aren’t doing anything productive. For instance, reading the newspaper all morning, browsing your email or watching TV. Continue reading The magic of planning for the next day

Book Summary: Decisive by Dan and Chip Heath

What the book is about

There are moments in life when we have to decide between choices that we have. Moments like these are pivotal in determining which direction your life will take. From which school a child should go, to decisions on work, relationships and even retirement plans, there are decisions to be made. Very few of us actually give a conscious thought to our decision making process. In fact, there are places where we let our mind follow intuitively as if we were on autopilot mode. The brain is not even aware that there are choices to be made. Even those of us who are aware that a sound decision is to be made stick to a primitive method called moral algebra. This is a method where we divide a sheet of paper into two columns. On side, we write down the pros of a decision and on the other side we write the cons. We do this for every possible choice. Finally we pick the option where the pros outweigh the cons more than in any other choice.

In their book Decisive, Dan and Chip Heath, the authors of other books like Switch and Made to stick, argue that we cannot approach decision making as if it were an algebric problem. We must apply a conscious process that allows us to be certain that a choice is the best possible that we arrive at. Even after a choice is made, we should be able to prepare for mistakes. Continue reading Book Summary: Decisive by Dan and Chip Heath

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