5 Proven Techniques for Making Tough Decisions

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We make thousands of decisions a day. Most of them are small and inconspicuous: whether to follow a link, whether to take a sip of coffee, or scratch your nose. But there are decisions that can significantly affect our lives. In these cases, it is better to act seriously. Entrepreneur Aytekin Tank offers five options.

1. Make a list of pros and cons

Let’s say you’re thinking about moving. Take a piece of paper and write down the classic list of pros and cons. Then rate each item from 1 to 10 based on how important it is to you personally.

For example, if you really need to stay close to your family, then put a rating of 9 or 9.5 next to this item. If you wrote “live near the mountains” as a plus, but you yourself like to spend time in the city rather than climbing mountain peaks, then the score will be only 2 or 3 points. The same goes for cons. If your career is important to you, “leaving the job you love” can be worth 8 points.

Add up all the points and see what outweighs. You can make a separate list for the “don’t move” option. Compare the results. You will see a logical figure backed up by emotions . This often helps to deal with subconscious desires.

2. Consider options for the development of events

First, imagine the worst case scenario and how you would feel if it became a reality. This scheduling method is called premortem. Imagine that your decision turned out to be terrible, and the project failed. Explore all possible causes of failure, think about how to prevent them. This will get rid of many problems.

Then visualize the best scenario and evaluate your feelings. If you do not experience happiness and inspiration, you should think about the reasons.

This method is used by Amazon. Developers write a draft press release and FAQ before writing the code. In this way, the team discusses and solves the most difficult issues in advance and determines the value of the product. If you can’t write a compelling press release, the product might not be worth working on.

3. Do not focus on extremes, look for the middle

We often get stuck trying to choose between two options. Get further education or start your own business? Move to another city or stay in your own? And forget that there are several more options between them. For example, spend part of the year in one locality, and the second – in another. Or live in your city for a couple more years, and then move.

The correct choice does not have to be between two options. Most often, you can find a flexible solution.

4. Consult with others

This is a good way to collect useful information. For example, if you cannot decide to move, consult not only with friends and relatives. They have a vested interest in this matter. It’s more important to talk to someone who has already moved. Ask if he is happy with his decision.

When it comes to business matters, hire a consultant. Or find a person with deep knowledge in this area and learn from him.

5. Avoid Hidden Solutions

By procrastinating and putting off an important decision until later, you still make a choice. Usually not the best.

Let’s say you need to fire an employee, but you’re putting it off to avoid an embarrassing scene. If it’s an incompetent or toxic person , you’re hurting the whole team with your choice. Remember that postponing a decision is itself a decision with real consequences.

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