Can we learn to make better decisions?

Maybe it’s because I have quite an experience in making bad decisions. Or perhaps I was just fascinated by the job title; Chief Decision Officer. Whatever the case, among the many articles that crowded my social streams, this onegot my attention.

Each day we make countless decisions.

Some of them are conscious such as what you want to eat, with whom you want to talk, where do you want for dinner and so on.

Most of them are unconscious, or so automatic that it’s hard to call them choices; like braking when you’re approaching a cross.

Most of the time, they have no visible consequences, a few times they may be life or death choices.

Conscious or unconscious, being able to make choices is a vital function of a human being.

Now you can understand my curiosity when I read that Google defined a new discipline to help humans make decisions.

To achieve that, Google combined data science with psychology, neuroscience, economics, and managerial science to enable individual humans, groups of humans, and machines to make wise decisions.

Fascinating.

Though, two questions arise in my head after I finished the article.

What is better?

The goal of the “chief decision officer” is to help people to make better decisions, but what makes one choice better than another? Is it the direct outcome? Or how it makes me feel? Or something else?

Take the example of choosing a hotel for a holiday. I may pick a hotel that is entirely bad (for my taste) but in which I meet the love of my life. Would you say that I made the wrong decision?

So, If you are asking yourself; “Am I making the right decision?” let me answer by sharing with you this little old Indian story.

Once upon the time, there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbours came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbours exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbours again came to offer their sympathy for his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbours congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

Before asking yourself how to make better decisions, you should probably find clarity about what better means to you.

Better and wiser are subjective terms, while we are talking about an objective decision process. And this distinction leads me to the second point.

Can it be engineered?

From the article, it seems that better decisions are the result of an engineered process.

Something we can study, model and improve.

But what about intuition?

What would you do if the Decision Intelligence Process tells you to choose something while your guts tell you something different?

Who would you listen to?

Dave Gray wrote that “Reason does not get people to act. Emotion is what causes people to act”.

If we follow a well-engineered process, is there the risk of making a wiser decision on which we won’t act because we are not emotionally attached?

Chief Awareness Officer

I believe that science can highly contribute to our ability to make decisions.

But as I see it, the opportunity is not in making better, wiser decisions through a refined process. Instead, it’s more in helping people to rise in awareness.

From a higher level of consciousness, they will be able to see possibilities beyond data, to detach from the outcomes, to make choices that align their physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual layers and, to lean into the unknown allowing the decision to emerge.

So, what about a new job title; the Chief Awareness Officer?

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