Decision Making Guide: How to Make Smart Decisions and Avoid Worst Decision that Will Affect Our Life

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What is Decision Making?

Let’s define decision making. A decision can be defined as a course of action purposely chosen from a set of alternatives to achieve organizational or managerial objectives or goals. Decision making process is continuous and indispensable component of managing any organization or business activities. Decision making is just what it sounds like: the action or process of making decisions. Sometimes we make logical decisions, but there are many times when we make emotional, irrational, and confusing choices. This page covers why we make poor decisions and discusses useful frameworks to expand your decision-making toolbox.

Why We Make Poor Decisions

Tim Ferriss shares a line by one of his mentors in which I feel sets the tone for why this topic is an incredibly important one. His mentor said, “Easy decisions make for a hard life. Hard decisions make for an easy life.” It had me reflecting on some of the decisions and choices I’ve had to make in recent times.

Decision making is one of the most laborious processes I know. For somethings, I can make decisions with relative ease, and for others, it can be a daunting task. I’ve made some excellent choices in life, some inferior ones, and at times when there are tough decisions to make I avoid them like the plague. Why?

I’m always inspired to research motivation and reasons behind why as it relates to how the journey of my life rolls out. How is it possible that by making hard decisions in life we can lead to an easier one? Why do we make poor decisions? In awareness and understanding perhaps I will be able to make wiser decisions moving forward.

In Dan Gilbert’s Ted Talk, titled “Why We Make Poor Decisions,” he shares an insightful formula as to how we calculate the expected value of something. This formula may help us better understand the reasons, errors and the why behind some of the decisions we make.

It was Daniel Bernoulli who apparently came up with this formula. He was an 18th-century Swiss mathematician known for his work on probability and statistics. The recipe looks like this, Expected value = Odds of gain + Value of gain. This relates to the actions or decisions we will likely make.

Here is how it works. If we can calculate the odds and value of any gain, we will be able to know might better how we will behave. For example, if in taking action the odds of something occurring is high and the value we attach to its occurrence is also high, we are likely to make a decision in favor of the action. If these elements are low, we will likely to make poor choices or none at all. At least this is my understanding of the formula.

According to Gilbert, there are a few reasons why people make bad decisions, and usually, it results from an error of judgement. What influences our ability to reason is our upbringing, conditioning, experiences and everything else we’ve been exposed to in life. That is the hard wiring of our brain, and it will affect how we calculate odds of gain and value. Emotions have an important role to play.

Gilbert also said that when we compare we may even make errors in judgment. Comparing is contextual to a particular experience. In one instance the odds may look favorable based on other positive elements occurring at the same time however in different contextual circumstances it may not be so.

There is the social comparison that effects our decisions and comparison to our experience. For example, many of our purchasing decisions are driven by social comparison. How will this make me look? Also, if we did or had something in the past that we remember as being good we might decide to purchase or do it again but this time be disappointed because the conditions were not the same.

These factors will contribute to either an overestimation or underestimation of odds and misrepresented perception of value.

Having experienced something more frequently in life, we will be in a better position to calculate the odds of it happening. For those things we are unfamiliar with it is more challenging to do this. For example, I can safely predict the odds of how good I will feel after going for a run in the morning, something I do a few times a week. On the other hand, waking up to go for a surf, something I’ve never done, will be more difficult to determine the expected value.

However, I can form assumptions based on my interactions with other surfers and their shared experiences and my knowledge that exercise and swimming in the ocean positively influence how I feel. In practice, I will be better able to calculate the odds. It reinforces to me why it is important to experiment and try things in life before ruling out possibilities that may lead to regret.

If we can easily see that the gain of something happening is more likely to occur because it has been something we’ve been more heavily exposed to or experienced, that will increase the overall expected value and the motivation to act. However, the odds of gain are based less on calculated fact and more so driven by emotions. In my experience, even with hard evidence, emotion usually overrules.

According to Lisa Feldman-Barrett, the theory that emotions are hard-wired is flawed. She proposes the constructionist theory which states that emotions are learned and built over a lifetime of experiences. Neuroscience research has found that emotions result from numerous brain networks working in tandem and influenced by “effect” – the mind and body relationships to stimuli.

As mammals, in life, we are influenced by the need to survive. To do this, we seek to fulfil our fundamental needs that are purposeful to our survival. Reward and punishment drive our actions. The brain functions as an efficiency tool. To help us remember what is good or bad and hence improve our ability to survive. The issue is that it is not necessarily always right.

The brain, now filled with pre-conditioned tendencies, will interact with the external environment and how the body feels to produce emotions, either positive or negative. Emotion will powerfully motivate our decisions, and how well we determine the odds of gain and value of gain despite evidence or fact, that may suggest otherwise.

How many times do we do, say, eat, or think things that even against our best judgment we still proceed? When angry I may lash out violently, and yet I know it’s not the best solution. When tired or sad I eat unhealthy foods or drink despite my knowledge that such things are not suitable for me long-term. I buy something that I want in anticipation of how happy it will make me feel and yet a couple of days or hours later I’ve forgotten all about it. I realize that most of what I think I want is driven by perceived needs and that without it I wouldn’t be any worse off.

In summary, and this may sound obvious to many of you, emotions affect the quality of decisions we make in life. Emotions affect the quality of life. I believe that with increased awareness and growth in our knowledge we will be able to understand better how our emotions work and therefore how they direct our decisions. From there, may we all make better decisions and live a life with greater freedom, fulfillment and happiness.

I like to think of myself as a rational person and reasonable person, but I’m not one and I am not perfect. The good news is it’s not just me — or you. We are all irrational. For a long time, researchers and economists believed that humans made logical, well-considered decisions. In recent decades, however, researchers have uncovered a wide range of mental errors that derail our thinking. The articles below outline where we often go wrong and what to do about it.

  • 5 Common Mental Errors That Sway You From Making Good Decisions: Let’s talk about the mental errors that show up most frequently in our lives and break them down in easy-to-understand language. This article outlines how survivorship bias, loss aversion, the availability heuristic, anchoring, and confirmation bias sway you from making good decisions.
  • How to Spot a Common Mental Error That Leads to Misguided Thinking: Hundreds of psychology studies have proven that we tend to overestimate the importance of events we can easily recall and underestimate the importance of events we have trouble recalling. Psychologists refer to this little brain mistake as an “illusory correlation.” In this article, we talk about a simple strategy you can use to spot your hidden assumptions and prevent yourself from making an illusory correlation.
  • Two Harvard Professors Reveal One Reason Our Brains Love to Procrastinate: We have a tendency to care too much about our present selves and not enough about our future selves. If you want to beat procrastination and make better long-term choices, then you have to find a way to make your present self act in the best interest of your future self. This article breaks down three simple ways to do just that.

How to Use Mental Models for Smart Decision Making

The smartest way to improve your decision making skills is to learn mental models. A mental model is a framework or theory that helps to explain why the world works the way it does. Each mental model is a concept that helps us make sense of the world and offers a way of looking at the problems of life.

You can learn more about mental models, read how Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman uses mental models, or browse a few of the most important mental models below.

Top Mental Models to Improve Your Decision Making

  • Margin of Safety: Always Leave Room for the Unexpected
  • How to Solve Difficult Problems by Using the Inversion Technique
  • Elon Musk and Bill Thurston on the Power of Thinking for Yourself

Best Decision Making Books

  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charles T. Munger
  • Seeking Wisdom by Peter Bevelin
  • Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

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Personal Continuous Improvement To Our Life: How It Works and How to Manage It?

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What is Continuous Improvement?

Let’s define continuous improvement. Continuous improvement is a dedication to making small changes and improvements every day, with the expectation that those small improvements will add up to something significant.

The typical approach to self-improvement is to set a large goal, then try to take big leaps in order to accomplish the goal in as little time as possible. While this may sound good in theory, it often ends in burnout, frustration, and failure. Instead, we should focus on continuous improvement by slowly and slightly adjusting our normal everyday habits and behaviors.

It is so easy to dismiss the value of making slightly better decisions on a daily basis. Sticking with the fundamentals is not impressive. Falling in love with boredom is not sexy. Getting one percent better isn’t going to make headlines.

There is one thing about it though: it works.

How Does Continuous Improvement Work?

So often we convince ourselves that change is only meaningful if there is some large, visible outcome associated with it. Whether it is losing weight, building a business, traveling the world or any other goal, we often put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement that everyone will talk about.

Meanwhile, improving by just 1 percent isn’t notable (and sometimes it isn’t even noticeable). But it can be just as meaningful, especially in the long run.

The power of tiny gains

In the beginning, there is basically no difference between making a choice that is 1 percent better or 1 percent worse. (In other words, it won’t impact you very much today.) But as time goes on, these small improvements or declines compound and you suddenly find a very big gap between people who make slightly better decisions on a daily basis and those who don’t.

Here’s the punchline:

If you get one percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done.

This is why small choices don’t make much of a difference at the time, but add up over the long-term.

For much more on this concept (and an example of a coach who used it achieve huge Olympic success), read this: This Coach Improved Every Tiny Thing by 1 Percent and Here’s What Happened.

Continuous Improvement Tools

Now, let’s talk about a few quick steps you can take right now to start focusing on continuous improvement.

Step 1: Do more of what already works

We often waste the resources and ideas at our fingertips because they don’t seem new and exciting.

There are many examples of behaviors, big and small, that have the opportunity to drive progress in our lives if we just did them with more consistency. Flossing every day. Never missing workouts. Performing fundamental business tasks each day, not just when you have time. Apologizing more often. Writing Thank You notes each week.

Progress often hides behind boring solutions and underused insights. You don’t need more information. You don’t need a better strategy. You just need to do more of what already works.

Step 2: Avoid tiny losses

In many cases, improvement is not about doing more things right, but about doing fewer things wrong.

This is a concept called improvement by subtraction, which is focused on doing less of what doesn’t work: eliminating mistakes, reducing complexity, and stripping away the inessential.

Here are some examples:

  • Education: Avoid stupid mistakes, make fewer mental errors.
  • Investing: Never lose money, limit your risk.
  • Web Design: Remove the on-page elements that distract visitors.
  • Exercise: Miss fewer workouts.
  • Nutrition: Eat fewer unhealthy foods.

In the real world, it is often easier to improve your performance by cutting the downside rather than capturing the upside. Subtraction is more practical than addition.

One of the best ways to make big gains is to avoid tiny losses.

Step 3: Measure backward

We often measure our progress by looking forward. We set goals. We plan milestones for our progress. Basically, we try to predict the future to some degree.

There is an opposite and, I think, more useful approach: measure backward, not forward.

Measuring backward means you make decisions based on what has already happened, not on what you want to happen.

Here are a few examples:

  • Weight Loss: Measure your calorie intake. Did you eat 3,500 calories per day last week? Focus on averaging 3,400 per day this week.
  • Strength Training: Oh, you squatted 250 pounds for 5 sets of 5 reps last week? Give 255 pounds a try this week.
  • Relationships: How many new people did you meet last week? Zero? Focus on introducing yourself to one new person this week.
  • Entrepreneurship: You only landed two clients last week while your average is five? It sounds like you should be focused on making more sales calls this week.

Measure backward and then get a little bit better. What did you do last week? How can you improve by just a little bit this week?

Step 4: Always Think Positive

Positive thinking is a mental and emotional attitude that focuses on the bright side of life and expects positive results. A person with positive thinking mentality anticipates happiness, health and success, and believes that he or she can overcome any obstacle and difficulty.

Always thinking positive even it hard times and challenging moments in life, business, career, and with the family have a great impact to once life and future. Think positive will bring you to success and tremendous change in life. Having a positive mindset and positive upbringing will surely make influence others specially those around you.

Step 5: Be Strong and Never Give Up

Never Give Up means believing in yourself. It means willingness to accept “failure” so you can learn the critical skill of adaptation. It means not compromising on your most important values, and walking the walk, rather than just talking the talk. It means living the life you want and are passionate about.

Being Strong means able to perform a specified action well and powerfully. Having a strong will personality makes you surpass hardships in life and keep the head high while the foot on the ground. Being strong does not give people the right to suppress other but instead to be the light and inspiration for other people. Strong will person have a good leadership treats.

Here are 8 effective ways to become more mentally strong:

  1. Focus on the moment.
  2. Embrace adversity.
  3. Exercise your mind.
  4. Challenge yourself.
  5. Respond positively.
  6. Be mindful.
  7. Don’t be defeated by fear.
  8. Be aware of self-talk.

Everything really relies to the person involved and it need great courage to keep on improving ourselves and to never say “I give up”.

Why Does California Have So Many Wildfires Every Year?

A house set alight by the Camp Fire in Paradise, Calif., on Thursday. The fast-spreading fire has been burning 80 acres per minute.

A pregnant woman went into labor while being evacuated. Videos showed dozens of harrowing drives through fiery landscapes. Pleas appeared on social media seeking the whereabouts of loved ones. Survivors of a mass shooting were forced to flee approaching flames.

This has been California since the Camp Fire broke out early Thursday morning, burning 80 acres per minute and devastating the northern town of Paradise. Later in the day, the Woolsey Fire broke out to the south in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties, prompting the evacuation of all of Malibu.

What is it about California that makes wildfires so catastrophic? There are four key ingredients.

The first is California’s climate.

“Fire, in some ways, is a very simple thing,” said Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “As long as stuff is dry enough and there’s a spark, then that stuff will burn.”

California, like much of the West, gets most of its moisture in the fall and winter. Its vegetation then spends much of the summer slowly drying out because of a lack of rainfall and warmer temperatures. That vegetation then serves as kindling for fires.

But while California’s climate has always been fire prone, the link between climate change and bigger fires is inextricable. “Behind the scenes of all of this, you’ve got temperatures that are about two to three degrees Fahrenheit warmer now than they would’ve been without global warming,” Dr. Williams said. That dries out vegetation even more, making it more likely to burn.

California’s fire record dates back to 1932; of the 10 largest fires since then, nine have occurred since 2000, five since 2010 and two this year alone, including the Mendocino Complex Fire, the largest in state history.

“In pretty much every single way, a perfect recipe for fire is just kind of written in California,” Dr. Williams said. “Nature creates the perfect conditions for fire, as long as people are there to start the fires. But then climate change, in a few different ways, seems to also load the dice toward more fire in the future.”

Even if the conditions are right for a wildfire, you still need something or someone to ignite it. Sometimes the trigger is nature, like a lightning strike, but more often than not humans are responsible.

“Many of these large fires that you’re seeing in Southern California and impacting the areas where people are living are human-caused,” said Nina S. Oakley, an assistant research professor of atmospheric science at the Desert Research Institute.

Deadly fires in and around Sonoma County last year were started by downed power lines. This year’s Carr Fire, the state’s sixth-largest on record, started when a truck blew out its tire and its rim scraped the pavement, sending out sparks.

“California has a lot of people and a really long dry season,” Dr. Williams said. “People are always creating possible sparks, and as the dry season wears on and stuff is drying out more and more, the chance that a spark comes off a person at the wrong time just goes up. And that’s putting aside arson.”

There’s another way people have contributed to wildfires: in their choices of where to live. People are increasingly moving into areas near forests, known as the urban-wildland interface, that are inclined to burn.

“In Nevada, we have many, many large fires, but typically they’re burning open spaces,” Dr. Oakley said. “They’re not burning through neighborhoods.”

Patients were evacuated from the Feather River Hospital in Paradise, Calif.CreditJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

It’s counterintuitive, but the United States’ history of suppressing wildfires has actually made present-day wildfires worse.

“For the last century we fought fire, and we did pretty well at it across all of the Western United States,” Dr. Williams said. “And every time we fought a fire successfully, that means that a bunch of stuff that would have burned didn’t burn. And so over the last hundred years we’ve had an accumulation of plants in a lot of areas.

“And so in a lot of California now when fires start, those fires are burning through places that have a lot more plants to burn than they would have if we had been allowing fires to burn for the last hundred years.”

In recent years, the United States Forest Service has been trying to rectify the previous practice through the use of prescribed or “controlled” burns.

Each fall, strong gusts known as the Santa Ana winds bring dry air from the Great Basin area of the West into Southern California, said Fengpeng Sun, an assistant professor in the department of geosciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Dr. Sun is a co-author of a 2015 study that suggests that California has two distinct fire seasons. One, which runs from June through September and is driven by a combination of warmer and drier weather, is the Western fire season that most people think of. Those wildfires tend to be more inland, in higher-elevation forests.

But Dr. Sun and his co-authors also identified a second fire season that runs from October through April and is driven by the Santa Ana winds. Those fires tend to spread three times faster and burn closer to urban areas, and they were responsible for 80 percent of the economic losses over two decades beginning in 1990.

It’s not just that the Santa Ana winds dry out vegetation; they also move embers around, spreading fires.

If the fall rains, which usually begin in October, fail to arrive on time, as they did this year, the winds can make already dry conditions even drier. During an average October, Northern California can get more than two inches of rain, according to Derek Arndt, chief of the monitoring branch at the National Centers for Environmental Information, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This year, in some places, less than half that amount fell.

“None of these are like, record-breaking, historically dry for October,” Dr. Arndt said. “But they’re all on the dry side of history.”

Trump slaps down journalist for ‘stupid’ question

President Donald Trump instructed journalists Friday to show more respect in the “sacred” White House and moments later angrily refused to answer a reporter’s question because it was “stupid.”

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before departing the White House for Paris on November 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

US President Donald Trump speaks to the press before departing the White House for Paris on November 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.

The latest clash between the president and the press corps assigned to cover him followed a meltdown on Wednesday when Trump lashed out at a star CNN reporter as a “terrible person” and had him barred from the White House.

In Friday’s incident, Abby Phillip, also from CNN, asked Trump whether he wanted his new attorney general to hold back an explosive probe into allegations that the president’s 2016 election campaign colluded with Russian agents.

The topic has been one of the main headlines in Washington since Wednesday when Trump abruptly fired Jeff Sessions as attorney general and named Matthew Whitaker, who has strongly criticized the Russia probe, to replace him. Critics have accused Trump of placing an ally who will try to muzzle special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Trump, speaking just before leaving for an international gathering in Paris to commemorate World War I, refused to answer Phillip.

“What a stupid question that is, what a stupid question. But I watch you a lot. You ask a lot of stupid questions,” he said, shaking a finger at the journalist, then walking away.

Moments earlier he’d defended his decision to bar CNN reporter Jim Acosta following their exchange at Wednesday’s press conference, saying that Acosta “is a very unprofessional guy.”

Asked how long Acosta will be denied the credential allowing him to work inside the White House, Trump said he hadn’t decided and seemed to indicate that the extremely unusual sanction could be applied to more journalists.

“It could be others also,” he said.

Trump went on to refer to another reporter, April Ryan, who works for American Urban Radio Networks and CNN, as “a loser” and “very nasty.”

The president said that the bad blood between him and the media was the fault of journalists showing insufficient deference.

“When you’re in the White House, this is a very sacred place to me. It’s a very special place. You have to treat the White House with respect. You have to treat the presidency with respect,” he said.

Robert Mueller Heard The Bad News That Has Him Scared For His Life

Robert Mueller

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s free run is over.

He led a rigged witch hunt to destroy Donald Trump.

But he just got the bad news that sent him running for his life.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Steps Down

Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned on Wednesday.

Pundits and D.C. insiders speculated for months that this move was coming.

With Sessions stepping down, Donald Trump appointed Matt Whitaker as Acting Attorney General.

This means Whitaker is now in charge of the Mueller probe.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein only ran the probe because Sessions recused himself.

With Sessions out of the picture, Rosenstein loses all his authority over the Mueller probe.

Democrats and the fake news media lost their minds.

They see the Mueller probe as their best chance to get rid of Donald Trump.

So fake news reporters and Democrats are demanding that Whitaker recuse himself so Deep State agent Rod Rosenstein can take back control of the Mueller probe.

Matt Whitaker Is Bad News For Robert Mueller

Before Whitaker went to work for the Justice Department, he would give legal commentary in the media.

During the course of interviews on both TV and radio, Whitaker ripped Mueller’s probe as being an abuse of power.

Whitaker appeared on the Chris Stigall radio show in June 2017.

The host asked him about Sessions meeting with the Russian ambassador in his Senate office in 2016.

Sessions did not disclose this meeting to the Senate – which he did not do because it was in his capacity as a member of the foreign relations committee and not as a member of the Trump campaign.

But the media successfully used the lack of disclosure to pressure Sessions into recusing himself from the Russian probe.

Whitaker blasted the Democrats who claimed this innocent meeting proved collusion.

“I also think, you know, we have another hearing in front of Congress where there is no evidence of collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign,“ Whitaker stated.

“Democrats continue to conflate the collusion issue, which there is no evidence of, with, with the fact that Russians did try to interfere with the election,“ he stated.

Whitaker then appeared on The Wilkow Majority show with Andrew Wilkow and repeated the factual claim that there was no Russian collusion.

“The truth is, there was no collusion with the Russians and the Trump campaign,”Whitaker declared. “There was interference by the Russians into the election, but that is not the collusion with the campaign and that is where the left seems to be just combining those two issues.”

Whitaker also added that the Democrats were actually afraid Mueller would find no collusion and didn’t want his report to see the light of day.

He explained, “The last thing they want right now is the truth to come out,” adding that, “there is not a single piece of evidence that demonstrates that the Trump campaign had any illegal or even improper relations with Russians.”

The media wants Whitaker out.

They know Mueller won’t turn up anything.

But the fake news media needs his investigation to last until the 2020 election.

That way they can push the story that the American people must vote Trump out of office because this scandal still hangs over his head.

We will keep you up to date on any new developments in this ongoing story.