WDYT 8/2020: What Bad Decisions Are You Making Because of Your Assumptions?

Christian Heise
Aug 31 · 2 min read

We make tens of thousands of decisions every day. Fortunately, most of them, like which shirt to choose from our closet, have no life-altering implications. However, we all face more impactful decisions that can affect our lives, work, and even the lives of others.

Unfortunately, decision making has no simple rules and is as much art as science. Making things even more difficult is that our decision-making process is often flawed from the very beginning. This is because of the assumptions we make, often without even knowing it. Often we might be better off taking steps to test those assumptions before committing 100% to a decision.

The likelihood of us basing our decisions on false assumptions is relatively high. Including a lot of back and forth in the decision making process. That is because we all tend to have a very positive view of our own beliefs, values, and behavior. We see the beliefs on which we base our choices as logical, typical, and appropriate and tend to overestimate the proportion of other people who think as we do.

From there, it is easy to see different responses as unusual or even deviant. This leads us to make decisions based on our biases and assume that others will surely agree. And this tends to waste a lot of time and resources before actually executing the decision. Overall, it is this type of assumption that can lead to poor decisions and outcomes.

It is possible to increase our decision-making quality by adding one straightforward step – checking our own assumptions. We may not have time to practice this with every one of the thousands of decisions we make each day. Still, it may be a worthwhile step with those decisions that may make a big difference in our lives and others’ lives. What do you think, are you led too much by assumptions when making decisions?

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