Of course, you have to trust your intuition, like when you’re under the gun at work and on deadline. We do what's required and move on.
But what about those times when we have to make big decisions solo? I’m talking about life choices—whether to quit our job, ditch the banker for the poet, or pull up stakes and move overseas—when we ultimately have to depend on our own judgment no matter how much advice we get from loved ones and colleagues. This is exactly what my Red Thread Thinking helps you do: take your choices, expand them, question them, and look at them from every angle, so you can avoid a potentially bad verdict.
Here are 5 ways to approach decision-making that will help you bite the bullet, separate good choices from bad, and assure you’re not motivated by pure emotion. Now you can be a lone wolf but with a resulting determination that is in your best interests.
1. Write down what you really know and don’t know about the decision you have to make.
That way, you’re not telling yourself stories that are too seductive not to believe. Overconfidence can be a powerful source of illusions and it often causes us to take our intuition at face value. Avoid the snare of looking only for data that supports the side you’re leaning toward.
2. Do a “pre-mortem.”
This is where you imagine you've made a decision and it’s failed. List all the reasons why. This keeps you from avoiding anyone or anything that challenges your narrative about the competency of your decisions to instead dealing with potential pitfalls before they happen. The beauty of pre-mortems is that they’re easy and help you tweak decisions in beneficial ways.