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These Six Questions Improved My Decisions

Zohaib Ali is writing words that have the power to change readers' minds. his work featured in Livejournal and Medium.

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We all want to make better decisions. Whether we're choosing what to eat for lunch or which company to invest in, we strive to choose wisely. But how do we actually make better decisions? In this blog post, I'll share six questions that have helped me improve the quality of my decisions. From clarifying my goals to understanding my biases, these questions have made a big difference in the way I approach decision-making. If you're looking to make better decisions in your own life, read on for some guidance.

Why might my belief not be true?

1. I may be wrong about the evidence.
2. I may be misunderstanding the argument.
3. I may be biased in my assessment.
4. I may be too confident in my own beliefs.
5. I may be overlooking important information.
6. My belief may simply be untrue.

What other evidence might be out there bearing on my belief?

If you're not sure whether or not to believe something, it can be helpful to consider what other evidence might be out there bearing on your belief. What would it take to convince you one way or the other? What would count as disconfirming evidence?

Other evidence might include:
- eyewitness accounts
- circumstantial evidence
- Scientific studies
- Logical reasoning

Decision Making

“You can't make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”

— Michelle Obama

Are there similar areas I can look toward to gauge whether similar beliefs to mine are true?

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When you're trying to determine whether a belief is true, it can be helpful to look for similar beliefs and see if there is any evidence to support them. If there are similar beliefs that have been proven true, then it's likely that your belief is also true. However, if there are no similar beliefs or the evidence is weak, then you may want to reconsider your belief.

What sources of information could I have missed or minimized on the way to reaching my belief?

There are a variety of sources of information that could be missed or minimized when making a decision. One source of information that could be missed is data. Data can provide important insights into a situation and can help to identify patterns or trends. Another source of information that could be missed is the input of others. soliciting the input of others, especially those with expertise in the area, can provide valuable perspectives that may not have been considered. Additionally, personal biases can distort our view of a situation and lead us to make suboptimal decisions. Finally, emotions can also cloud our judgment and lead to impulsive decisions.

What are the reasons someone else could have a different belief, what’s their support, and why might they be right instead of me?

There are many reasons that someone else could have a different belief than me. Their support for their belief may come from personal experience, religious or spiritual beliefs, or simply because they were raised to think a certain way. While I may not agree with their beliefs, I can respect where they are coming from and why they hold those beliefs. In some cases, the other person may be right and I could be wrong. It is important to be open-minded and to consider all sides of an issue before making a decision.

What other perspectives are there as to why things turned out the way they did?

There are a number of different perspectives that can be taken as to why things may have turned out the way they did. One perspective is that the decision was based on incomplete information and that if more complete information had been available, the decision may have been different. Another perspective is that the decision was made under pressure and that if more time had been available, the decision may have been different. A third perspective is that the decision was made based on personal preferences and biases and that if these had been removed from the equation, the decision may have been different. Finally, a fourth perspective is that the decision was made based on gut instinct and that if this had not been relied upon, the outcome may have been different.

Think About What You Can’t Know

There are some things we'll never know for sure. No matter how much we research or how many experts we consult, there will always be a degree of uncertainty surrounding certain decisions. And that's okay!

Part of being a good decision-maker is recognizing when you need to make a decision despite not having all the information. Rather than agonizing over what you can't know, focus on what you do know and use that to inform your decision.

For example, let's say you're considering whether or not to take a new job. There are a lot of unknowns: will you like the new company? Will the work be challenging? Will you get along with your co-workers?

Rather than stressing about what you can't possibly know, think about what you do know. Do you need a change of pace? Are you looking for more responsibility? Does the new job offer better pay or benefits? Once you've considered the known factors, you'll be in a better position to make a decision even if there are still some unknowns.

Open To Beliefs—Not Gullible

When it comes to making decisions, it’s important to be open to different beliefs and perspectives. However, that doesn’t mean you should be gullible or easily swayed. It’s essential to critically evaluate all information before making a decision. Asking yourself the following six questions can help you do just that:

1. What are the motives of the people presenting this information?
2. What evidence is there to support this claim?
3. What are the potential biases of those involved?
4. What alternative explanations could there be?
5. What are the risks and potential consequences of accepting this information as true?
6. How certain am I about all of this?

Answering these questions can help you weigh all the evidence and make a more informed decision.

Common Decision-Making Pitfalls

There are a number of common pitfalls that people fall into when making decisions. One of these is overconfidence bias, which leads people to overestimate their ability to make accurate decisions. This can lead to decision-makers taking on too much risk, or making poor choices based on insufficient information.

Other common decision-making pitfalls include confirmation bias (seeking out information that supports one’s existing beliefs), sunk cost fallacy (irrational attachment to an investment that has already been made), and status quo bias (a preference for the current state of affairs).

These biases can lead to suboptimal decisions being made, so it’s important to be aware of them and take steps to avoid them. For instance, you can reduce overconfidence bias by seeking out input from others, and looking at evidence that contradicts your initial beliefs.

© 2022 Zohaib Ali

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