Decision Making Mistakes

Posted on May 15 2009

Decision Making Mistakes

Decision Making Mistakes are so very very common and most are made by our subconscious.

As much as we would like to believe that we do not have any prejudices or biases , the fact is that everyone does. The more aware you are of your decision making mistakes, the better off you will be, and the better decision making will occur. The main reason that people form opinions is that we cannot take in everything and our brains subconsciously filter everything.

If you have every tried to learn many things at once, you will recall that you became very overwhelmed quickly and got nothing out of any of it. Decision making mistakes may have caused you to become frustrated and even discouraged with learning. Our brains screen and categorize information so that we can understand the world around us without being overwhelmed by it. Our decision making mistakes occur, and we encounter problems when we see that our learned perceptions are based on what those around us have taught us, and we have no proof. We learn things based on others’ perceptions, and we begin to question things.

Our decision making mistakes stem from some of these beliefs. If we take the time to collect our own information, and form our thoughts around our analysis, we are most likely to choose an alternative that is best for us.

Below is a list of the most common decision making mistakes. By learning about these decision making pitfalls now, you will be able to avoid them in the future.

–Relying heavily on “expert” information. Often, people place too much emphasis on what “experts” say. Remember, experts are only human and have their own set of biases and prejudices just like the rest of us. By seeking information from many sources, you will get much better information than you would if you gathered it from only one source.

–Overestimating value of information received from others. People tend to overestimate the value of certain individuals in our society and underestimate the value of others. For instance, experts, authority figures, parents, high status groups, people of power, and people we respect have a way of swaying our opinion based simply on the fact that we believe they know more than we do. When you find yourself doing this, be sure to question yourself: Do they have better information than I do? What is their experience? Does it match mine? Are their values the same as mine? In other words, keep their opinions in perspective.

–Underestimating value of information received from others. Just the opposite of too much weight, we can underestimate or devalue information we take from those we have less respect for. Groups such as the opposite sex, children, low status groups, the media, politicians, the elderly, blue-collar workers, artists, etc. Sometimes, those in these groups have valid information that should be considered. In other words, these groups may use entirely different values and perceptions in their answers to your questions. They paint a bigger picture of what the issues really are. Just as we questioned ourself when considering information from “experts”, ask yourself why you might be discounting the information you receive from anyone.

–Filtering. Collecting, and registering only data in relation to what you want the answer to be. If we have expectations or biases that we are not aware of, we tend to see what we want to see. Likewise, if someone tries to tell us something we do not want to hear, we simply do not listen. This is more common than you might think. The key is to be aware of your own prejudices and expectations while at the same time staying open to everything that comes into focus.

–Not accepting your “gut instincts”. If your heart or your gut say “this is wrong”, you should listen. Your body will talk to you. Our subconscious tries to send us messages all of the time for situations like this. It provides clues to the answer through feelings or gut reactions. Most of the time, we ignore our instincts and later say “I should have followed my gut”. Tune into your intuition, and consider it as one more piece of data. You will find that you will make much better decisions in the long run.

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