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Hello everyone. Welcome to the 5 Minutes Podcast.
Today I like to talk about why we make so many mistakes while we are deciding. Why it's so hard to decide? And the first thing we need to understand is that I would say that most of the people working on projects and businesses would love to have the power to decide. Many times they say, Oh, if I had the power to decide on this supplier, or if I have the power to decide on this scale or this budget, everything would be different. However, when you.have the power to decide.
It's not easy. Our decision-making process is a painful process. And why It's a painful process because it's like a crossroads. Imagine that you are walking on a road, and then there is a crossroad. Many times if you take one direction, the right or the left.
You are already eliminating the other option. And this is very painful because we never know what it is the right path is and what the right decision we should make because we only know later we don't have the crystal ball we would love to have. And many times we do not understand that the future is just an assumption. Everything. For example, I am deciding to study as I did in the nineties chemical engineering. I did that because I had some assumptions. Okay, maybe I'll have a job, and maybe these will help me. Maybe Brazil at that time was growing, and maybe this was the right decision. Maybe not. We only know the road we decided to take.
So I want to share with you three mistakes that, in my opinion, are big mistakes that really make our life miserable while deciding. And the first one is we mix the outcome with the decision. And what I want to say is that if the outcome is good, you decide perfectly. If the outcome is not good, then you did a poor decision. So we always say, okay, how was the result? If the result was good, you did perfectly You are like magic. If the outcome is bad, then you did a lousy decision. But this is not true because you are relying upon the outcome 100% in your decision. You don't understand all the complexity of the future that is unfolding in front of us. We don't have a crystal ball that controls everything. Maybe you made a lousy decision, and the outcome was good just because you were lucky. You are dared at that time. It's very easy for me to evaluate things when the outcome is already there if the outcome is bad I know, oh, I did this very poorly.
But it's not necessarily related. I love the book. How do we decide from any book? And she gave an example that for me was perfect about this concept. Imagine that you are driving your car and you decide you made a decision to cross the red light, and you crossed. You didn't hurt anyone. You didn't hit any car. The police were not there, so you didn't receive any fine. Just nothing happened. You saved 30 seconds.
Of your life by not waiting for the green light.
This means the outcome was good. Does this mean that your decision was good? This is exactly what we need to know because, many times, it's super easy for us to criticize.
And position over things about the past.
For example, it's so easy today that we say, Oh, that medicine for COVID-19 does not work. Absolutely. It's easy to say this many years after the beginning of the pandemic, but now let's go back to the beginning of the pandemic. At that time, we had to make many decisions without knowing exactly how the outcome would be. We made our best-informed guess we tried to make analogies, and we tried with possibilities we tested some things that went very well and others not so well. And this is the nature of the decision. The second thing is about impulse. When you decide in a rush, and I don't look, I love quick, fast, sharp decisions. I don't like it very much impulse decision, impulse decision. It's when you give away the rationality, and you decide, I would say with emotion, you decide because you are angry or you decide because you are sad. Most of the time, these decisions are very poor. It's like, for example, if you are discussing with a supplier in your project and suddenly you get truly angry, and they just say, Let's cancel the contract, and then 10 minutes later you say, No, look, I don't have any other suppliers. So by doing that, I'm destroying everything on the project many times we do that and this is very much related to many times what I said. Emotional hijack or amygdala hijack. Many times you just lose control, lose your temper and make a decision. Say, Now I will quit the job. And then, when you say this, it's out of your mouth.
It's impossible for you to say, Look, I want to go back 30 seconds in time, and not say that, so we really need to have the peace of mind and the calm to decide using the best of the knowledge we have currently and assessing the probabilities of every single outcome.
And last but not least, the third aspect is confirmation bias. And this is super common. Let's suppose you want to decide on something, but let's suppose that you already know a little bit what the decision you want to take and then what do you do? You just ask for information and ask for insights from people that would agree with you would confirm your own bias. For example, imagine that.
I want to talk to you about the next Netflix film I want to watch, and then I say, What should be the movie I should watch? I already love the preview of this movie. What happens to you when you listen to that? You listen, and you will say, Look, if I say something the opposite of what Ricardo said about this movie, Ricardo may be angry with me, maybe sad. Ricardo may be a little bit unhappy. So what I did, I'm not asking you; I'm just using you as an agent to confirm my own bias.
And what is important when you want to make a decision about quitting a job or about an approach to your project?
You need to be very mindful of truly trying to get the answer and not getting the answer you want to hear. You know, and this is so critical because this is human behavior; many times, we try to manipulate everything just to confirm our own beliefs. And this is not a decision made because the future does not unfold because you want it; the future unfolds because it unfolds. It's far more complex than your own ability to decide many times you decide, right?
And the results do not come in. It's just life. What do you do? You try to decide the best to make sure that the outcome would be nice, but you cannot just attribute just to the outcome. For example, if you go to the stock market and you only win, there is an issue. Remember, I watched the Madoff series on Netflix, and is that many people say this cannot exist because it cannot. It cannot. Someone had 100% of favorable outcomes. There is no decision mechanism in the market that is so volatile that someone is able to buy before the price grows and to sell before the price drop always because it's just against human nature. So always think about that because a decision is something that we need to make all the time, not only in our personal lives but in every single task on the project or the product we are developing. Think about that, and see you next week with another 5 Minutes Podcast.