Skip to main content

Rational Decision-Making

I've been going through some of my old notes and decided to pull a couple of them together for another post. Decision making is an interesting subject, something that applies to all spheres of our lives - from everyday decision making, to economics, politics, etc. In some cases it is desirable to delay making decisions as long as possible - "I've learned one thing in politics. You don't make a decision until you have to" (Margaret Thatcher); in some we need to make decisions quickly - the rapid-fire decisions that make up our daily lives. Sometimes we need to rely on intuition and instinct, sometimes it is necessary to carefully consider and weigh a complex set of inputs and variables. But regardless of the circumstances we can benefit from getting rid of myths surrounding decision making and becoming more aware of the inner processes we use to make those decisions. For example, the following article from the Harvard Magazine: "The Marketplace of Perceptions" tackles the myth of purely rational decision-making:
"Economic Man makes logical, rational, self-interested decisions that weigh costs against benefits and maximize value and profit to himself. Economic Man is an intelligent, analytic, selfish creature who has perfect self-regulation in pursuit of his future goals and is unswayed by bodily states and feelings. And Economic Man is a marvelously convenient pawn for building academic theories. But Economic Man has one fatal flaw: he does not exist."
As far as gaining awareness, I really like the book by Garry Kasparov - "How Life Imitates Chess: Making the Right Moves, from the Board to the Boardroom", it is not a guide or a self-help manual, but it has some great material:
"You must become conscious of your decision-making processes, and with practice they will improve your intuitive - unconscious - performance. This is required because as adults we have already formed our patterns, good and bad. To correct the bad and enhance the good you must take an active role in becoming more self-aware... Awareness can mean the difference between a harmless habit and a bias that leads to a dangerous loss of objectivity."    
I also moved the following short video from the "Life As A Game Or The Game Of Life" post as I think it makes more sense here. It also suggests that most of the time we are far from being rational and logical:




To round things up, here's a quick quote from Chris Curran's (CTO of Diamond Management & Technology Consultants) blog to highlight the importance of good decision making:
"Projects with the poorest outcomes came out that way not by surprise, but after a series of interim decision points during which leadership reviewed the major project issues and alternative courses of action, and selected one course they thought would best right the ship."
So, get a hold of your decision making processes, understand and analyze them, manage your biases to improve objectivity, combat your weaknesses and empower your strengths, allow your mind to wonder and let creativity flourish, exercise your intuition, and don't be afraid to fail. Learn and train yourself to make better decisions! 

Popular posts from this blog

С Днем Победы! Happy Victory Day!

С Днём Победы! (May 9, 2013)



There's really nothing else to say... (May 9, 2013)

I will go home tonight, have a drink, and remember my grandpa Meyer who was killed in action in a Battle of Kursk and my grandpa Andrey who fought all the way to Berlin. I will think of countless lives lost during WWIIand reflect on life, family, friends... and maybe have another drink... that's all...



Great Mexican Vacation!

As promised, quick notes on our Mexican vacation. This time we went south of Cancun to Riviera Maya and stayed at a pretty good resort Gran Bahia Principe Akumal. It's a pretty big place (basically, three co-located resorts: Akumal, Tulum, and Coba) with a golf course, white sand beaches, and plenty of restaurants, bars, swimming pools, and entertainment options. Here are a few shots of the facilities: Of course, Caribbean Sea and its beaches are the main attraction: Wild life, like iguanas and lemurs, birds and tropical fish, is everywhere, yet it is fairly unobtrusive:
There are plenty of activities in the area. First, we went to swim with the dolphins: And then onto a great tour of Mayan ruins at Coba: Of course, scaling the grand pyramid was one of the highlights of the trip (double the fun for me, as I am afraid of heights):
Here's Mayan observatory (maybe the famous calendar that inspires end-of-the-world controversy was developed here? not to worry, it's just a beginning …

Inscription On The Bell

What can I say, I am a huge sucker for catchy quotes. So, I could not let this one pass me by:
"All truth is one in this light: may science and religion endeavor here for the steady evolution of mankind from darkness to light, from narrowness to broadmindedness, from prejudice to tolerance. It is the voice of life which calls us to come and learn."Inscribed on the bell in Hayes Hall Bell Tower at SUNY  (State University of New York) Buffalo.