When you’re living in a period of heightened uncertainty, your normal decision-making processes can break down. Some people become paralyzed and afraid to act, while others make quick decisions based on emotions or bias rather than facts. You can make careful, reasoned decisions by taking a strategic pause to stop and assess what information you have — and what you’re missing.
Following these practices will help you better address your emotional responses, name and confront them, and make more rational decisions in the face of uncertainty.
- First, identify what kind of data you’re working with and biases that might accompany it. For example, some data captures our attention because it’s surprising, but we might overweigh it because it’s new or noteworthy.
- Next, identify which information matters most to your decision-making. There are an endless number of “known unknowns” out there, and exploring them all won’t help you. Instead ask yourself: What do I really need to know to move forward?
- Finally, formulate questions that will help you get the answers you need. Organize your questions into four categories — behavior, opinion, feeling, and knowledge — so that you bring both distance and a variety of perspectives to how you interpret the data.
Don’t Let Uncertainty Paralyze Your Decision-Making