Is this a Reversible or Irreversible Decision?

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5 Minutes
Last updated
April 15, 2024

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Is this a reversible or irreversible decision – and if it is reversible, how?

Faced with moving to a new home in a village 350 miles away, one question made the decision an easy one.

Is this a reversible decision – and if so, how?

It was a life goal to live in North Wales, so the fact we had to move gave us an opportunity. We weren't buying, so renting give us an easy way out if we needed it. Knowing we could move back to the town we were moving from if we didn’t like it gave us the confidence to move. Yes, it wouldn’t be cheap to move back, but it wasn’t impossible.

This critical insight made a huge difference in our decision to move.

Decision-making is an act of judgement on the future. All too often, we say yes - or no - without asking the right questions first. The role of this guide is to introduce you to those questions. The question posed here - a critical thinking question - is arguably the most important one to ask.

Why ask if you face a reversible or irreversible decision?

We never know where life will lead us.

Our self-talk makes us believe we are in control, but a mix of luck and entropy often makes idiots of us. Asking if a decision is reversible or irreversible forces us to consider the future. If a decision is reversible, surely one must ask why. Of course, this must lead you to the next follow-up question - how could you undo the decision?

With the pace of life as it is, making quick decisions is what everyone wants. Certainly, seeing a decision as a reversible one should make the process quicker.

But, but, but – saying yes to a decision because it's seen as reversible inevitably fools us in the future.  Pausing to ask if a decision is reversible with confirmation bias in attendance is a hat tip to all decisions being reversible.

Preventing confirmation bias from fooling us is vital to making a better decision.

Thus, asking why this decision is reversible and how we might reverse from it – is crucial.

So, where does that leave us? With a question to answer...

How can I reverse this decision?

Picture this scene. You’ve made your decision, but you begin to realise the decision was the wrong one. How can you get back to where you were before?

Take my family’s moving conundrum.  We had to move home anyway - the landlord was selling - so, the choice we faced was where to?  Our options were to stay local and struggle to find a suitable home given the expensive area we lived in. Or move 350 miles to somewhere new, but much cheaper. If we or the kids didn’t settle, then it would be a challenge moving back, but an achievable one nonetheless.

The lease would end legally after six months, and we would just need to find a new home back in the town we lived in.

Other big decisions may also be reversible but with greater impact. Considering this may lead you to accept your reversible decision is an irreversible decision. This should prompt you to ask more critical thinking questions, to enable you to dig deeper. The goal: to objectively analyse information to help you make an effective decision.

Your most important critical thinking question

Decision making isn’t easy. As is our way, we want to simplify, but we also want to be right. We frequently make the wrong decision. Not understanding whether a decision is reversible or irreversible is one error we often make.

Asking better questions is a path to making better decisions. So, asking the question posed here is a step in the right direction. The question is this; Is this a reversible or irreversible decision – and if it is reversible, how?

Critical Thinking

This question is another critical thinking question. It is part of the guide to using critical thinking questions to improve your decisions.

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