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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Make Good Decisions

August 12, 2014, 11:42 AM
Decision_making

By actively interrogating our own desires, we can mediate our basic wants (and fears) by compensating for our psychological blind spots with practical insight. Psychotherapist Alison Thayer notes that most decisions aren't exactly "no brainers". There are often multiple justifications for making decisions that lead down different paths. The first question to ask, which may seem trite, is what are the pros and cons of each option? When people honestly look at the pros and cons, says Thayer, they often discover advantages to their current situation they were previously unaware of while finding new flaws in the exciting new possibility before them.

The other important questions are meant to circumvent our psychological biases, which tend toward idealizing the future while minimizing the present. Therefore, asking yourself how your decision will affect you 'x' years down the road is a way to actively visualize the future. If you like the future you see ahead of you, then the decision is probably a good one. Contrary to intuition, Thayer recommends asking anxiety-inducing questions, such as "What's the worst thing that could happen?" If you see the worst possible future as manageable, your stress will be relieved and you can feel more confident in your decision. Lastly, ask yourself what you would advise a friend to do, since we are often the last to take our own advice.

And getting a good night's sleep can make everything clearer. In his Big Think interview, leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith explains how to further avoid rash decision making:

Read more at Psych Central

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