To some, decisions may be easy to reach while other people cannot easily make up their minds on certain things. Decision making is a skill that requires constant practice. Once you are faced with a situation, you are forced to decide what is best for you or for others. Some decisions have to be made instantly and quickly; other kinds of decisions are analyzed before getting rolled out. Yet, human as we are, we commit mistakes, and even with decision making, we encounter pitfalls. These slip-ups are inevitable especially when the situation is little complex.
A mistake must be taken positively instead of allowing it to put you down. Any fault in decision has to be accepted gracefully and constructively. It is utterly important to learn from these mistakes and not commit them the next time around. Part of becoming a good decision maker is gaining understanding of your own mistakes and learning from them.
Common Pitfalls in Decision Making
a. Being too dependent on “expert” information
Some people rely too much on the experts when in fact not all of them are truly experts. If ever they are, they are still prone to mistakes and can even have their own set of biases. Instead of getting information from just one source, try widening the search and sources.
If you feel very confident of the decision you are about to make, try to humble the overconfident attitude and still remain open to possible options or other information.
c. Underestimating the information taken from others
Devaluing information that other people feed you is also a big mistake. A little respect for receiving unsolicited and volunteered information or suggestions is healthy in the decision making process.
d. Filtering data or information
When filtering information, you only choose those that are in your favor, which makes you biased on a certain decision. If this is the case, you might be missing out on other details that can be helpful in the process. Be mindful of your personal expectations and prejudices and be open to ideas.
e. Failing to acknowledge your intuitions
You hear people say “I should have followed my instincts.” This is a very common mistake in decisions. Regrets come late because the initial “gut feeling” was not recognized. At times, the subconscious mind would feed a signal or a message that things are not right. It sends clues through gut instincts, so try to recognize those intuitions and accompany it with added information or research.
Other Decision Making Mistakes
In addition to the above mentioned pitfalls, here are more traps in decision making that would lead you to making the wrong decision.
• Reluctance to change
• Too many alternatives and options
• Failure to identify the real problem
• Failure to recognize the problem
• Dealing with emotional biases
• Dwelling in uncertainty
• Avoiding decision
• Failure to analyze the situation
• Fear of regret
• Fear of commitment
• Decision delays
• Repetitive decisions
• Irrelevant decisions
• Lack of evaluation
• Failure to project decision outcomes
• Lack of follow-up
What to do to Avoid Decision Pitfalls
If your weakness is being indecisive, you have got to change that personality. Poor decision making skills actually make one weak and dependent. There is a great tendency that you cannot stand on your own and may even struggle when left alone.
One simple tip is to defer the decision for the time being. Hasty decisions may turn out to be bad. Pressuring oneself to decide when the mind is not well-conditioned will also generate bad decisions. Take time to analyze and really weigh the pros and cons of the choices.
In connection with the first tip, always research and evaluate the choices available. The more information you gather, the easier it is for you to narrow down your alternatives and eventually make the best decision.
Lastly, when worse comes to worst, do not hesitate to consult with a friend or an advisor perhaps. Yet, never completely ask them to make the decision. Simply seek for their opinions and what they can say about your chosen alternative. This leaves you being independent as a decision maker.