- Don’t Fall into a Decision Quicksand! How to Decide Fast without Regretting about the Result -

By Lisa Franchi republished on December 13, 2017

Should I have coffee or tea? Will I watch movie or just stay at home and read a book? Which brand is better, this one or that? Every day of our lives is decision-making day. And whatever the consequence of that decision is, we have to bear. The same is true when making tougher decisions I life like changing a career path, ending a relationship, or getting married.

Decision Quicksand

Have you ever experienced spending hours looking at a restaurant menu, yet not being able to decide which one to order? Admit it – sometimes, the easiest decisions are the hardest thing to make. And experts have an explanation for this. According to the researchers from University of Florida and Jonah Berger of the Wharton School, people find it hard to decide when faced with so many choices. In their study, they tried to find out how people (as consumers) decide and choose which products to buy. Here’s what they found out – when making decisions in unimportant matters, a person tends to connect difficulty with importance, causing the brain to go into a heavy round of deliberation. This is a result of meta-cognitive mistake. For instance, if you’re looking for shampoo in a grocery store, the wide range of choices trigger your brain to conclude that such decision requires time and attention. The researchers added that decisions that are trivial that becomes very complicated can cause unhappiness. They call it ‘decision quicksand’ because we can easily get into it, sucked in and drown. The results are to be published later this year in a paper entitled ‘Decision Quicksand: When Trivial Choices Suck Us In’.

How to Make Good Decisions in a Rush

You can actually decide in less than 60 seconds without having to regret over the results. How? First, you have to determine what it is that you really want. When we base our judgements on our personal preferences, trivial decisions become much easier to make. Let’s go back to the shampoo. If you’re confronted with a plethora of brands, you want to freeze for a moment and ask yourself – which one do I need? What qualities are you looking for? Are you looking for a shampoo that primarily treats dry and frizzy hair? Or do you prefer something that is specially formulated to repair damaged hair? When you let these choices overwhelm you, everything can get very difficult. But if you know what you want, you can trim down you choices to those that fall under your preferences and finally decide on the right product which will give you the most happiness and satisfaction.

Same thing applies when it comes to more important aspects of life that call for decision-making, just like quitting a job and choosing a different career. Before you start seeking advice from your relatives and friends, you should give yourself time to reflect on things and consider your own feelings. You can ask yourself – ‘why would I want to quit this job in the first place?’, ‘will this new line of job bring me happiness?’, ‘does it represent who I am and what I want to do?’, ‘will this career I’m about to take will give me freedom to express myself?’ and so on.

Don’t allow yourself to fall into decision-making quicksand. Stick to what your heart truly desires and everything else will fall into its proper place.

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