Collect accurate and honest feedback on what you were thinking as you made a decision
People often ask me how to make better decisions. The way to test the quality of your decisions is to test the process by which you make them. The best way to do that, according to Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner and Dean of Biasses, is to use a decision journal.
One reason we struggle to get better at making decisions is that we rarely receive feedback on the quality of our decisions. Think about it; there is no Yelp for decision ability where we can leave reviews. It's like we're operating a restaurant, but the customers can't give us feedback, so we never learn that the steak has too much salt or the spaghetti has too much sauce. Because we can't learn and get better, we go out of business. Good decisions don't ensure success, but bad ones almost always ensure failure.
Identify a Decision
The journal will force you to make your rationale explicit upfront
Collect accurate and honest feedback on what you were thinking as you made various decisions
Improve your Decisions
Test the reasoning and process by which you made a decision
If you let it, the information provided by this pocket sized journal will help identify cases where you think you know more than you do, but in fact, you’re operating outside your circle of competence. It will also show you how your views change over time, when you tend to make better decisions, and how serious the deliberations were. Here is what is inside:
The idea is whenever you are making a consequential decision, write down what you decided, why you decided as you did, what you expect to happen, and if you’re so inclined, how you feel mentally and physically.
Writing itself makes you realize where there are holes in things. I'm never sure what I think until I see what I write. And so I believe that, even though you're an optimist, the analysis part of you kicks in when you sit down [to write] … You think, “Oh, that can't be right.” And you have to go back, and you have to rethink it all.