The number one reason that people make bad decisions is because of fear. And many times, fear comes from a lack of preparation. So, how can individuals prepare to make better decisions? It begins with three things.
First, look at the data.
One of the easiest ways to know if you are making a good decision is to look at others who made the same decision in a similar situation, and decide if they experienced an outcome that you want to experience for yourself. The results may not turn out the exact same way, but they will most likely be close. Past decisions are full of data to learn from and shouldn’t be ignored.Past decisions are full of data to learn from and shouldn’t be ignored. Click To Tweet
This principle applies to individuals and businesses alike. Google is known as one of the most data-driven companies in the world. They collect it, analyze it, and make better decisions due to being aware of user data. Be like Google and use data to your advantage.
Second, think about the future consequences.
“There is no such thing as a future decision. There are only present decisions that affect the future.” – Venita VanCaspel
Can you think of a decision that you made long ago that is still affecting your life? My guess is that you can remember something, good or bad, that helped place you where you are at today. Whether it has something to do with your relationships, your work, your school, or your moving to a different city, there has been a decision along the way that changed everything.
Every decision has a ripple effect on your world, sending future consequences into motion. Every choice has a cost; impacting people, the available time that you have, and your own journey. Every time you choose one thing over another, you are taking time and effort away from something else, or even someone else. This is just another reason that our choices are so important. This means that we must weigh the cost versus the payout; the risk versus the reward; and the effort versus the possible result; and then make decisions accordingly.
Third, when other people are involved, use emotional intelligence.
“What really matters for success, character, happiness and life long achievements is a definite set of emotional skills – your emotional intelligence — not just purely cognitive abilities that are measured by conventional IQ tests.” — Daniel Goleman
In a speech given at Harvard Business School, James Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase said, “Your IQ’s are all high enough for you to be very successful, but where people often fall short is on the EQ. It’s something you develop over time. A lot of management skills are EQ, because management is all about how people function.”
Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is someone else who is known for using his emotional intelligence. When someone wrote about their negative view of the work environment at Amazon in the New York Times, saying that management wasn’t accommodating to its employees, Bezos recanted with an internal memo to all of his employees. In this memo, Jeff made sure to say, “…our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero,” and for good reason. Bezos, the most successful CEO ever in my opinion, understands just how important having emotional intelligence can be.
Emotional intelligence, or EQ, is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. It is explained as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social skills and empathy by Daniel Goleman, author of the book, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. And these are all important attributes to possess as you make better decisions, because let’s face it, we are all emotional beings.
When you look at the decisions that others made and decide if you want to experience similar consequences, think about the consequences that your decisions will have in the future, and use emotional intelligence as an advantage, you will begin making better decisions. Now go and make better decisions, today.