Quick decision making is rarely a clever idea unless you’ve received training on how to make quick decisions, then you’ll be okay. Armed with pressure-driven crisis management tools, you’re poised to assess the situation quickly and respond accordingly.
Most of us don’t have the benefit of a teacher to explain the fundamentals of decision-making, let alone quick decision-making. A good school will teach you everything to do with spelling, reading, and experimenting through the wonders of English, Maths, and science, but nothing on how to make decisions.
And that’s bad.
It’s a little sad too because decision making is the most important skill you can have. You should be aware quick decisions normally have a bad outcome unless lady luck is lingering. A quick decision often ignores the situation, instead relying on your intuition to guide you towards your preferred outcome.
Intuition isn’t as good as we believe it to be. You see intuition is a learned response from an earlier experience. Sadly, learned responses only develop through repetition. If the song isn’t stuck on repeat, then you’re unlikely to learn the words. Instead, you’ll choose your own words, you’ll hum, you’ll even mumble your way through.
We do the same with our intuition when it comes to quick decision making. We fudge it, we make an earlier experience fit the new one we’re in. Downsides come thick and fast, and serendipity hasn’t even lent a hand yet.
Forget Quick Decision Making – Slow Down
Direction over speed. When travelling, going in the right direction matters more than the speed you’re going. Going fast in the wrong direction is bad. We’re only travelling to get to a destination.
Making decisions is the same.
A decision made in haste offers little thought to the outcome. It takes no account of the situation we might find ourselves in. Little or no assessment of the facts, all of which matter in every decision. Don’t fool yourself but be aware, no one fools us like us.
Slowing down your decision gives you the platform to assess the situation. You can find out the facts, considers the probable outcomes, and ponder the behaviours of others in the decision you make.
You might consider your emotions and your biases, as you become influenced by the time you’ve spent on the task in hand. Loss aversion, confirmation bias and the sunk cost fallacy are all demons sent to blight our considered choices. You might not see them, but they are there, ever ready to pounce and spoil the outcome.
Without slowing down, you don’t even get the chance to consider the part they might play.
Defeating the Quick Decision
Our habits tend to drive quick decisions; we become accustomed to reacting quickly. A simple example is what time you go to bed. Your binge-watching: the clock on the polished fireplace is creeping ever closer to eleven, but the programme you’re glued too is so good. As the credits start to roll a button appears on the screen, the glowing box a hook to keep you seated for the next episode.
Do you accept it? Or do you stop it and go to bed?
An assessment of the situation might declare to you your eight hours sleep has become seven already, and another hour will make it six hours sleep reducing your time in bed by a quarter.
As you ponder the stark loss of a quarter of your sleep, you become aware of the impact; you’ll be tired, grumpy, and unable to function properly at work. Logically, the answer should be to hit the off button and head for bed.
But logic rarely exists in a quick decision. The choice in the heat of the moment is an easy one, intuition takes over meaning you don’t even have to decide.
You’ll keep going. One more episode won’t hurt, and besides this series is amazing.
To defeat quick decision making isn’t easy. It will require self-awareness of every choice you have to make, and then you’ll need to stop. Take a moment to pause and then begin a new decision-making process.
Bad habits are defined by bad decisions that litter our world like trees in a forest. Like an overplanted woodland, it’s time for some pruning.
It is the first step to getting away from quick decision making.