Making Good Decisions

One of the biggest challenges facing most of us, on a daily basis, is making good decisions. Raise your hand if, after you’ve made a decision, you agonize over whether or not it was a good one. (If you raised your hand, you have a lot of company.)


Have you ever watched someone throw good money after bad? Maybe it’s their car – one expensive thing after another breaks down, but they just keep shelling out the cash to fix it. When you ask why they don’t get rid of it and buy another, they proceed to describe, in great detail, all of the money they’ve spent to repair it and keep it running. 


It seems to be human nature that when we make a decision, such as what kind of car to buy, we do not like to be wrong. It upsets our ego to think we have made a mistake, so we try to convince ourselves that it was the right decision. Sometimes, we will rationalize away information that contradicts our decision, or we develop a scotoma (a mental blind spot) and we don’t even see the conflicting evidence, even when it’s right in front of our nose.


Now, there is a lot to be said for persistence, for sticking with something until it pays off. There is also a real advantage in being able to recognize when there isn’t going to be a payoff. Recognizing the truth of a situation, and acknowledging that mistakes are simply part of being human, actually makes you more human and adds to your wisdom quotient.


If you have any doubt about the wisdom of a decision, sit down and realistically weigh the pros and cons. Make a list of costs – including intangibles like time and stress – as well as benefits. If you decide it is time to cut your losses, let go of that part of yourself that insists on always being right, and, instead, make a decision to do the wise thing.