Your Decision-Making Skills Are Terrible. Here’s How You Can Fix That.

“We are our choices.” (Jean-Paul Sartre)

You make terrible decisions for a number of important reasons.

You prioritize your current self at the expense of your future self.

Photo by Heather Schwartz on Unsplash

You make decisions based on the moment instead of the future consequences that would result of those decisions.

This is what the majority of people engage in and how they operate — short term gratification over long term reward.

Instead of putting off some short term and momentary pleasure in the moment for a greater reward in the future, you give in to your cravings and desires.

You unconsciously choose to eat those chocolate chip cookies instead of that home cooked meal filled with vegetables.
You unconsciously choose to lay down on the couch and watch TV instead of getting up off of your ass and exercising.
You unconsciously choose to ignore the deteriorating circumstance of your intimate relationship in favor of hanging out with your friends.
You unconsciously choose to not give that poor person some help instead of providing a helpful hand and practicing some empathy and compassion.

You fundamentally live your life from a place of reactivity as opposed to responsiveness.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

As with most people, you react to the circumstances that life has to offer you instead of responding and this causes the majority of your suffering.

Instead of taking the time in the present moment to assess how you will respond to a given situation, you unconsciously choose to explode with emotional reactivity and let yourself go wild on a psychological basis.

You fundamentally choose to react as opposed to respond.

You unconsciously react to the other person trying to get in your lane on the freeway instead of consciously choosing to respond and not let it get to you emotionally.
You unconsciously choose to verbally fight with your significant other as opposed to respond in a loving manner.
You unconsciously choose to get angry when your business experiences a setback instead of responding in a way that would make the process of running a business much smoother.
You unconsciously choose to blame others instead of responding by blaming your own self.

You live your daily life unconsciously as opposed to consciously.

Photo by Dmitry Bayer on Unsplash

Most of your beliefs, thoughts, and actions take place within the unconscious realm as opposed to the conscious realm.

Now, there is a certain degree of unconsciousness that we will all have, but you mainly live there with short bouts of conscious awareness.

To be unconscious is to be unaware of how you are acting and how those actions translate into the practical results within your life.
To be conscious is to be aware of how you are acting and how those actions translate into the practical results within your life.
When you walk your go in a beautiful park, you go unconscious with thoughts of doubt and worry.
When you speak to a friend, you get caught up in your own unconscious self narrative instead of listening to what they have to say.
When you eat your food, you go unconscious and scarf it down as quickly as possible.

You fail to use any decision heuristics at all within your day to day life.

Photo by Alessandro Bianchi on Unsplash

You go through your day without any form of mental heuristics or rules of thumb. Instead, you succumb to the biases of you brain and suffer the consequences of not understand nor implementing mental shortcuts.

Here are 10 mental heuristics that are extremely practical and useful:

The 30–30 Rule

If the item costs more than $30, wait at least 30 hours to buy it.

The 1–10 Rule

Rate every invitation, party, date, wedding, so forth on a scale of 1–10 excluding the choice of 7. If you think something is a 7, there’s a good chance that you feel obligated to do it. Deciding between a 6 or an 8 is a lot easier to quickly determine whether or not you should consider it.

“Hell Yes” or “No”

When deciding whether to do something or not, if you feel anything less than “Wow, That would be absolutely amazing!” — then say “No.”

Always Do What Is Emotionally Most Difficult

Always do the thing that is emotionally most difficult to do in any given situation.

Step Into Fear

Face your fears and you will realize that they are nothing to be afraid of.

Protect The Downside

When trying to make a decision, identify the worst case scenario and plan accordingly for that very situation.

The Bright Line Rule

A bright line is a clearly defined rule or standard, composed of objective factors, which leaves little or no room for varying interpretation.

An example would be the following: “I will be in bed by 10:30 PM, every single night.”

The 80/20 Principle

80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. Look for causes within your life that provide the disproportionate rewards. Focus on identifying that 20% of efforts that actually move the needle of progress.

Ask ‘Why?’ 5 Times

Asking this question in any given situation will provide deeper insight as well as bring you closer to the truth.

Devil’s Advocate & Red Teaming

This is the process of asking yourself why something you want to do won’t work. It will reveal to you any flaws within your thinking and help you create anti-fragile systems.


Your results are a direct reflection of the quality of decisions that you make or fail to make. For this reason, it is important to understand the process of making high quality decisions and embody that within your own psyche and character.