InFocus January 2016—Making Your Best Decisions
Main Story: DECISIONS, DECISIONS …
Life is full of decisions. There are ho-hum, everyday ones (bagel vs. oatmeal, what color shirt to wear). There are larger, wider-scope ones (how to spend our most precious resources — time and, of course, money).
When it comes to those financial decisions, Carl Richards, director of investor education for the BAM ALLIANCE, says, “The single most important thing you can do when it comes to making good decisions with money is to get clear why you are doing it. … Why are you doing the things you do with money? Take the time to have a discussion about your values so you can be clear about why you are doing the things you are doing.”
Why. Why? Why?!
The way we go about approaching and making decisions, financial and otherwise, is a common, foundational theme in the messages shared by Richards, through his writing and in episodes of his Behavior Gap Radio. We share some favorites below:
Every day, we’re expected to make many decisions. Over time, the cognitive cost of those decisions adds up. By the end of the day, most of us have burned through our ability to make good decisions. The researchers refer to this process as ego depletion or decision fatigue, and it’s a real thing that can get in the way of making better decisions.
Most of us are trying to prevent future mistakes without realizing that shame and blame won’t fix what needs fixing.
What if we start to practice a different reaction to resistance? After all, resistance doesn’t imply that we can’t reach our desired goals. It simply means we haven’t found the best option — yet. Why not give ourselves time to identify and evaluate all our choices?
> MORE FROM THE BAM ALLIANCE:
Tim Maurer’s “Riding the Elephant: Mastering Decision-Making in Money and Life”
Sidebar 1: THE SECRET TO MAKING GOOD DECISIONS
Deepak Chopra is a doctor, a noted author who has written more than 20 New York Times best-sellers, and a renowned public speaker. The Chopra Foundation is described on his website as being “dedicated to improving health and well-being, cultivating spiritual knowledge, expanding consciousness, and promoting world peace.” Its mission is to “advance the cause of mind/body spiritual healing, education, and research.”
Chopra writes in one of his blog that when decision-making is studied, not enough weight is given to the human element that is involved in the process. He looks at the four human elements that help make a decision a good one: emotions, self, vision and surroundings.
Sidebar 2: OVERCOMING PARALYSIS BY ANALYSIS
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” –Theodore Roosevelt
Paralysis by analysis is the result of too much thinking causing too little action. Doing nothing can be the easiest course of action, especially with the overload of information available today.
Forbes offers some things to consider when you are feeling inundated with information.