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Top 3 Factors That Affect Decision Making

For some people it’s easy.  Ask them if they want chicken or fish for dinner and they may have an answer for you before you finish the question.  Other people are not so easily sold on what it is that they want. 

For those who have issues making decisions, just getting through a day without having an anxiety attack is something to look forward to.  Even for those chicken or fish people, it only takes one bad decision to place you right on the other side of the cool and calm meter.

The Problem

For anyone who presently or has previously had trouble with decision-making, it’s probably a good idea to figure out how to gain control of the moment.  Neglecting this skill will more than likely have some unappealing effects on your life.  Let’s explore what I believe to be the Top 3 Factors That Affect Decision Making.

Top 3 Factors That Affect Decision Making

  1. Time
  2. Emotions
  3. Money

Time

The pressure of making a decision in a short amount of time can be extremely difficult for some.  It’s happened to us all.  “I need to make a decision right now,” are usually the words you hear out loud or inside your own head.  In this situation, your brain is forced into a quick calculation of:

PAST + PRESENT + FUTURE =?  

What happened last time I did this?  How will this affect me now and in the future?  The result of this calculation will depend on how fast you can recall this data and how fast you can crunch the numbers.  Unfortunately, you will still have to go through the other two factors below at the same TIME.

Emotions

Your emotions are powerful if you don’t already know.  They are so powerful that they have the ability to override your brain and body.  Most if not all emotions arise from your fight-or-flight-response

This psychological/biological reaction involves your brain and sympathetic nervous system.  This determines how you deal with stress, and making a decision can definitely flip the on the switch.   Stay and deal with this situation or run and essentially live to fight another day?

Money

Anyone who tells you that money is not a factor in their decision-making is most likely lying to you and or themselves.  Even if money’s no object to you the repercussions of money spent or lost get filtered through your brain.  We are a species of survivors.  That’s why we remain on top the food chain. 

In the 21st century money is probably your most valuable trading chip (unless you have gold, but that usually is in turn traded for money when needed).  Money determines where you sleep, what you eat and how you live your life.

Whether it’s your money or someone else’s, when you are making a decision you’re going to wonder how it’s going to affect your best means of ensuring the survival and lifestyle you want or are accustomed to.

“That leads to the next reason: psychology. The reality is that we are predictably irrational. Behavioral economists have uncovered a range of mental shortcuts and cognitive biases that distort our perceptions and hide better choices from us. Most business decisions are collaborative, which mean groupthink and consensus work to compound our individual biases. Further, most business decisions are made under the stress of high uncertainty, so we often rely on gut feelings and intuition to reduce our mental discomfort. Decisions are hard work; there is a strong emotional impetus to just make them and move on.” – Harvard Business Review

The Solution

So how do we deal with these 3 factors that affect decision-making?  I read through a few articles and settled in on this one from Psychology Today.  I like getting a psychology and business opinion as much as possible because I think these two fields would know the most about human nature.

Psychology is scientific which means its logical and factual, while successful business people have real-world experience with people and usually have analytical information similar to a psychologist.  The difference is the business people have great anecdotes that relate better to common sense.

These are the 3 solutions suggested by the article for making good decisions faster.

1. Know the ultimate strategic objective

2. Think rationally about how your options align the ultimate objective

3. Do something with that knowledge and those thoughts

If you want to read the article you can click here, but I will give you the cliff notes found in the closing.

“Finally, it is helpful to remember that in the real world, “perfect” options are a myth. Decision-making will always be an exercise in coping with an unknowable future. No amount of deliberation can ever guarantee that you have identified the “right” option. The purpose of a decision is not to find the perfect option. The purpose of a decision is to get you to the next decision.” -Nick Tasler, Psychology Today

There you go. Top 3 Factors That Affect Decision Making. What do you think? Will these tips help you? Have they Already? Leave a reply in the comment box below.

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