A SMART way to choose a car, or anything else

My daughter needed a car to drive to college. It needed to be safe, cool, and inexpensive, among other things. Too bad there's no really cool, really inexpensive car out there, so, once again, we needed to make trade-offs. We started by listing the major goals and considerations. This turned out, as usual, to be a … Continue reading A SMART way to choose a car, or anything else

Imagine that! And that and that and…there’s your answer

What on earth does imagination have to do with decision-making? Yes, it helps you come up with more alternatives, goals and constraints. But then, it’s just a matter of evaluating each of your alternatives against your goals and making a reasoned choice, right? Actually, this is the one step in the decision process in which … Continue reading Imagine that! And that and that and…there’s your answer

Go for the goal! No, it’s too big!

Goals are often so lofty that they overwhelm us. The choices seem to be all-out pursuit or nothing. Often we take the “nothing” option rather than face the enormity of the task. Here are some ideas for a broader list of alternatives.  As I've said before, you always have more than two options. Try these. … Continue reading Go for the goal! No, it’s too big!

Choices for Change

You always have more than two choices in any decision. A lot of decisions come out of a problem or dissatisfaction. The temptation is to jump in and do something right now, especially if you’re angry. Before you do that, settle down and make a list of possible alternatives that will remove, mitigate, or otherwise … Continue reading Choices for Change

You always have more than two options

Many of the decisions you face ostensibly have only two choices--often simply yes or no. That makes it easier to consider, but greatly limits your decision-making power. One technique people use to control other people is to offer them limited choices. I used to do this with my daughter when she was young. I'd give … Continue reading You always have more than two options

Gift books for your favorite decision maker

Happy holidays! Are you still shopping? I am. So I thought I’d pass on some suggestions for books for the decision makers (or would-be decision makers) in your life. Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Life Decisions John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney and Howard Raiffa Broadway Books 1999 242 pages Smart Choices … Continue reading Gift books for your favorite decision maker

It’s gone, you can’t get it back, and it’s making you crazy

I just read a great article about thinking mistakes and how they mess up our decision-making. This article covers eight mistakes, any of which could be the basis for an article by itself. It also includes some terrific cartoons illustrating confirmation bias. Right now I want to focus on mistake #3, the sunk cost fallacy. … Continue reading It’s gone, you can’t get it back, and it’s making you crazy

Ben Franklin’s decision technique

Benjamin Franklin had a life-long interest in finding ways to make himself more effective. It worked. He become a statesman, an inventor, a publisher, a writer… and got his face featured on the hundred-dollar bill. One of his techniques was a simple way to make a difficult decision, specifically whether to do something or not. … Continue reading Ben Franklin’s decision technique