Olle Lindholm

How to make better decisions

Life is full of tough choices.

But no one teaches you how to be a great decision-maker. At best, they tell you to trust your gut or make a pros and cons list.

I don’t know about you, but those methods don’t always work for me. So, I went to the library to do my research.

And guess what I found? A simple process that works well for all your decisions. Finally, something you can trust.

In this post, I’m happy to share Chip and Dan Heath’s decision-making framework from their book Decisive. This process teaches you how to make better decisions in life.

Want to know more? Follow me…

The Four Villains of Decision-Making

According to the authors, there are four villains of decision-making. They are:

  1. We have too narrow of a focus. We don’t explore all the options open to us.
  2. We fall victim to the confirmation bias. This is another fancy word for confirming our beliefs. We have a belief about something and then go out to confirm that belief, without exploring other options or facts.
  3. We rely on short-term emotions. There’s a reason the proverb “sleep on it” is so powerful. Too often, we make a rash decision in the heat of the moment. We forget to take a step back and think about what’s best for us in the longterm.
  4. We are overconfident about our decisions. We fail to consider both good and bad scenarios. Instead we blindly believe in our decision and hope it will work out for the best.

A Smarter Decision-Making Framework

So, what can we do to combat these four villains in our decision-making? Fortunately, the authors offer us a simple framework called WRAP. This stands for:

  1. Widen Your Options
  2. Reality-Test Your Asssumptions
  3. Attain Some Distance Before Deciding
  4. Prepare to Be Wrong

Let’s look at each step in more detail.

1. Widen Your Options

Your first step is to expand your options and see what else you can be doing.

For example, you can:

Got more options? Great! It’s time for you to reality-test your assumptions…

2. Reality-Test Your Assumptions

When you decide, you often gather information and facts that already confirm your beliefs. This is a sign of poor decision-making skills. To make sure that you assess your options fairly, make sure to reality-test your assumptions first.

For example, you can:

Your mission in this step is to challenge your beliefs and what you already know. When you feel done with this step, you’re ready to attain some distance before deciding…

3. Attain Some Distance Before Deciding

It’s easy to make decisions in the heat of the moment. You think with your lizard brain, and you let your short-term emotions make the call. But are you making decisions that are in line with your core priorities?

Here’s how you can attain some distance before deciding:

Your mission is to think about what’s best for you in the longterm, not just make a decision that feels great for the moment. Once you’ve attained some distance, it’s time to prepare yourself to be wrong…

4. Prepare to Be Wrong

Everyone seems to think their decision is the best. To avoid being overconfident about your decision, you need to prepare yourself to be wrong. Here’s how you can do that:

Remember to do the premortem and preperade separately. If you’re doing it in a group, don’t share your results until everyone has finished brainstorming. Share one finding from one person at a time to avoid a narrow frame.

Make better decisions today

I know that making a decision can be hard. But at least this process helps you explore your options and act with your core priorities in mind.

Yes, it takes a while to “wrap” your head around this framework, but once you do, you know how to make better decisions.

How do you make decisions? What did you think of this process? Anything you’d like to add? Please let me know.

#personal growth