Making good decisions

When we're in the frame of mind to make good decisions, we've lined up lots of different influences in our favor:

  1. We've got a good sense of the challenge of making good decisions and including all the essentials
  2. We've got some history of making good decisions in the past as well as insightful post-mortems of the bad decisions
  3. We're clear of fears about making a bad decision
  4. We're under the influence of other good decision makers who we're unconsciously imitating and emulating
  5. We're expanding the spectrum of possibilities under consideration as well as the range of criteria used to narrow the field
  6. We're working with the ways our brains function rationally and irrationally to realize the best of both dynamics
  7. We're expecting to receive inner guidance once we've prepared our mind with well researched alternatives, got a good feeling about the decision itself and have found  inner peace to sense the prompting from within

This model for making good decisions shows why so many bad decisions get made. There are so many things that can go wrong or go missing from this comprehensive approach. Here's a brief inventory of those pitfalls:

  1. We can dramatically oversimplify the challenge of making a good decision and leave out most of the essentials
  2. We can feel burdened by a long history of making bad decisions which appear in hindsight like an unavoidable curse or personal shortcoming 
  3. We can be so afraid of making a bad decision that we fall for dichotomizing alternatives, overreacting to threats or rushing to judgment 
  4. We can imitate and emulate ineffective decision makers who collude with our skewed perceptions, troubled history or chronic fears
  5. We can narrow our spectrum of possibilities and range of criteria to reach a foregone conclusion regardless of the situation
  6. We can work against how our brains function and endure the resulting irrational urges covered up by delusional rationalizations
  7. We can expect to be misled by personal addictions to materialistic acquisitions, arrogant superiority over others or manipulative control of situations

So when we're making bad decisions, there is no simple solution. When we wonder why politicians or other high profile public figures make bad decisions, we can sense their state of mind. When we're helping someone else make a better decision, we can consider this full spectrum of issues.

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