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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