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How to Think Quickly yet Critically to Make the Right Decisions

How to Think Quickly yet Critically to Make the Right Decisions

Do you have problems making decisions?

If yes, don’t worry, as this is a very common issue.

Despite having to make thousands of decisions everyday, it’s likely that no one ever taught you about decision making.

However, as you’ll soon see, decision making is something that can definitely be learned. Instead of being apprehensive about making decisions – you’ll find yourself looking forward to it.

Making Good Decisions Is Hard, But Why?

Step back in time, and imagine a scenario where you were forced to make a quick decision.

Perhaps you were negotiating the purchase of a new car, considering a job offer, or choosing a last-minute holiday package. All of these situations would have tested out your decision making prowess.

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Studies have shown that it’s harder to make the right decisions when we are suffering from anxiety, stress or time pressures.[1]

As an example, if you’re anxious about a situation (such as navigating through an unfamiliar city), then your brain is likely to direct you towards the safest options. Unfortunately, these options may not be the best choices.

Good Decision Makers Are Often the Winners in Life

For sure, you can go through life by making below-par decisions.

However, if you want to excel in your career, boost your finances and live an organized and happy life – you’ll definitely need to be able to make good decisions quickly.

I’m guessing that you probably encounter daily or weekly situations where you need to make important choices or decisions. If you don’t know how to think critically (I’ll explain more about this in a moment), then you’ll be leaving your fortunes to lady luck, rather than forging your own path in life.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins

Critical Thinking will boost your decision-making power

If you’re unfamiliar with the term critical thinking, I’ll give you a straightforward definition: Thinking that is open-minded, clear, rational, and uses evidence to reach a conclusion or answer.

Making the right decisions usually requires a combination of knowing how to think quickly and analytically.

Let’s take a look now at three ways you can boost your decision-making powers.

Prioritize your decisions.

Becoming a great decision maker starts with knowing which decisions are the most important or urgent.

Many of us have a tendency to prioritize decisions that we’re comfortable or good at making – rather than taking on more challenging decisions. The problem with this is obvious. The big, important decisions that require our attention are pushed aside and neglected.

To change this behavior, consider creating a daily list of decisions that you need to make, and then ordering them by priority.

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Create mental space to allow superior decision making.

If like most people, your mind is cluttered by a relentless stream of news, gossip and information, then you’re likely to find that decision making is harder than it should be.

You must find time and space for your mind to dwell on choices, and to quickly reach decisions. There are several simple ways you can do this, including: taking a walk in the park, enjoying a relaxing bath, and turning your focus to a subject other than the one you need to decide on.

By doing one of the above actions (or something similar), you’ll give your mind breathing space to work subconsciously on reaching a decision. You’ll also be putting aside any pent-up anxieties or concerns about making a decision.

Develop a flexible mental approach.

Organizations and individuals who are stuck in a rut can often be heard using the following expression: “I/We always do it this way.” It’s no wonder they have great difficulty in making tangible progress.

To be a great decision maker, you must be willing to be flexible and open-minded. As Albert Einstein cleverly said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

The trick is to step outside of your normal thinking patterns. Instead, seek fresh, inspired answers by letting your mind be creative and free. As an example for you, if you normally take days over a major decision – why not try reducing this time to hours?

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To boost your success, think quickly, think critically

Thinking quickly just takes practice. In time, as your confidence builds, you’ll be able to make almost instant decisions about day-to-day matters.

For more important decisions, however, you should turn to critical thinking methods.

These can be summarized as follows:

  • Recognising the links between ideas.
  • Approaching problems in a systematic and consistent manner.
  • Identifying errors and inconsistencies in reasoning.
  • Determining the relevance and importance of ideas and arguments.
  • Using evidence to reach conclusions and decisions.

To illustrate the points above, picture yourself running your own business. You’ve had some initial success on your own, and you’re now considering hiring someone to help you grow the business further.

To reach a decision on this, firstly, you could write down the pros and cons of employing someone. You could then take it a stage further, by looking at the likely financial benefits and potential risks of taking someone on board. Finally, you could research similar businesses to yours, to see if they were able to successfully expand by hiring staff.

Successful people know how to make everyday decisions quickly. However, they also know how to pick out vital decisions that need more time and focus.

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By learning critical thinking, you’ll boost your confidence in making decisions. This will naturally lead to boosting your success and happiness in life.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

More by this author

Craig J Todd

UK Writer who loves to use the power of words to inspire and motivate.

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Last Updated on May 7, 2019

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Work in any competitive field long enough, and you’re bound to run into a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s a powerful image. A shepherd watches over his flock to protect them from harm. He’d chase away any predator that tried to make its way into the flock. A clever wolf wearing the skin of a sheep as a disguise can sneak by the vigilant shepherd and get into the herd undetected.

The story isn’t just a colorful description–it’s a warning to all of us to beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They may seem innocent, but they have ulterior motives. They’ll use different tactics to camouflage their intentions.

The person who is kind to you, but undercuts you when you aren’t around is a wolf in disguise. A wolf in sheep’s clothing might pick your brain for ideas and then pass them off as their own to get a promotion. They’re always looking out for themselves at the expense of everyone around them.

Wearing a Disguise Has Its Advantages

People don’t go out of their way to manipulate others unless they’re getting something out of it. Hiding their intentions gives wolves the chance to manipulate other people to advance their own agenda. They know that what they’re trying to do wouldn’t be popular, or it might cause struggle if they presented themselves honestly.

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    They’ll be able to do what they want with less interference if they put on an act. By the time people figure out their true motives, the wolf has what it wants.

    Signs That Someone Is a Wolf in Disguise

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        1. They live to take power instead of empowering others. A wolf uses people as stepping stones to get the things that they want. They don’t care what happens to anyone else.[1] A wolf at work might make you look bad during a presentation to make themselves look amazing in front of the boss.
        2. Wolves seem sweet on the outside, but they’ll show you their teeth. If wolves revealed their true identity, people wouldn’t associate with them. They develop a friendly or kind persona, but they can’t keep up the act 24/7. Eventually, they’ll reveal their aggressive tendencies. A wealthy person who likes to break the law may make sizable charitable donations to convince people that they are kind and thoughtful. These donations largely keep them out of trouble, but if someone calls them out, they destroy that person’s reputation to stifle the criticism.
        3. They manipulate through emotions to get what they want. Wolves know that they can get ahead by appealing to your emotions. They find out what you want and need, and they give you just enough to keep you quiet and compliant. Imagine that your boss is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and you want to ask for a vacation. She might try to play on your guilt and feelings of insecurity to get you to skip vacation or take fewer days off.
        4. A wolf will charm you first. Wolves are experts at manipulating the people around them. They appear interested in whatever you’re doing, and you’ll get the impression that they care. After they get you where they want you, they do just enough to keep you on the hook. This is the coworker who may start out being your friend, but they end up dumping responsibility onto you. When they see that you are growing frustrated, they’ll surprise you with something to charm you some more. Then, they’ll continue to do whatever they want.
        5. Their stories are full of holes.  Calling a wolf out is the surest way to make them squirm. When this person tries to come up with a story, it won’t make much sense because they are improvising.[2] The classic example of this is the significant other that you suspect has cheated on you. When you ask them why they came home so late, they’ll either become upset with you, or they’ll make up a weak explanation.

        How to Spot a Wolf

          Know What’s Real So You Can Spot the Phony

          Do some homework so that you have as much of the story as possible before you work with them. Research how they respond in certain situations, or give them hypothetical problems to see how they respond.

          A job applicant might tell you that she’s always positive and thinks of herself as a team-player. That’s what every employer wants to hear. During the interview you ask applicants to work in groups to solve a problem to see how they handle the situation. The applicant “positive team-player” is bossy and negative. You’ve spotted the wolf.

          A wolf will tell you something that ultimately benefits them. Gather evidence that proves or disproves their position, and see what happens. Chances are, when you choose the side that supports their agenda, they’ll act like your best friend. If you disagree, they’ll become aggressive.

          Spotting a potential wolf–especially if you are one of the sheep–can present you with some challenges. If your gut tells you that a wolf is lurking among all the other sheep, pay attention, and make sure you take the next step.

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          Ask Questions, the More the Better

          There’s nothing wrong with asking questions to uncover the truth. The safety of everyone in your group is at risk. Since wolves often make up stories, you may be able to call them out when their tales lack details.

          When they state an opinion, ask “Why do you think that?” or “How do you know it’s like that?” They’ll have trouble coming up with enough information to pull off the lie.

          Since wolves are always pretending to be something they aren’t, they don’t usually have a clearly thought-out reason for what they say. In a debate, they won’t understand the root of an issue.

          They may also tell you what they think you want to hear, but when pressed for more information, they won’t have anything to add. Their knowledge is superficial. No matter how much you try to encourage discussion, they will not be able to carry on a conversation about the subject.

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          Wolves Are Everywhere

          As much as we want to believe that everyone has the best intentions, it isn’t always the case. Some people only do things to benefit themselves, and they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

          Wolves in sheep’s clothing can be found in almost every setting. You can’t get rid of them, but if you can spot them, you can avoid falling into their traps.

          Reference

          [1] Association of Biblical Counselors: Three Ways to Spot a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
          [2] Power of Positivity: Beware of a wolf in sheep’s clothing

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