Learning to be Rational – From Ask Anya mails

MailFollowing series of posts on How good are you in making decisions.

Question:

“There are so many components to our decisions that I doubt the change in a decision making process can be achieved so easily. How can we become rational if we don’t always know when we’re irrational?

Answer:

It is true – there is no easy solution to magically improve the decision-making process in one day. Nevertheless there are tools and techniques that can be applied to gradually, but consistently improve the quality of your decisions. The problem is, that being considered too “intangible”, these tools and techniques are rarely learned systematically. The majority of us had to discover them piece by piece in a hard way, at the account of our own mistakes, but is it the most effective way? I don’t think so.

Wouldn’t it be great if managers or anyone who deals with managing people and has to make decisions as part of their everyday job, were trained in dealing with the influence of possible predispositions/misconceptions on their decisions and in countering this influence? It’s still not the case, but at least many organizations have realized the cost of bad decisions and the real factor behind it. Only by constantly training our mind, by raising the awareness of the “malfunctioning” of our decision making process and by unveiling the common misconceptions we’ll be able to quantum leap our ability to make systematically good decisions.

6 thoughts on “Learning to be Rational – From Ask Anya mails

  1. Key among the pieces I have slowly gathered into a decision making process, is the realization that emotion and a well trained intuition play a star role.

    Intelligence and method alone will not take you far enough.

    Fungus

  2. Not primarily on emotions, and not primarily on intellect.
    We must balance all our resources.
    Synergistically.

    I suggest that since we make decisions based on what out tummy feels, it’s better to train our tummy to feel correctly, feed our tummy with the right data and learn how to read our tummy.

    Synergy is he key word here.
    You don’t get nutrition primarily from the guts or primarily through the blood stream.

    😉 Fungus

  3. Let me step back to take a wider view.
    Do we agree that both components (intellect and feelings) are involved in decision making?
    If so … do we agree that a certain point in the middle is better than any extreme position?
    I mean that under the right conditions some combination of intellect and feelings gets better results than pure intellect or pure feeling.
    If that is so, then someone who is too close to one extreme should try moving a little towards the other extreme and measure the result before going any further.

    Please note that I don’t know I am right. I think I should carefully explore and measure.

  4. Fungus, you are completely right, emotions shouldn’t be neglected in decision-making. Their interaction with the rational part should be studied and modified. In my later posts I’ll write about possible ways of doing so.
    Thank you for your insightful comments!

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