If you’re a newsletter subscriber, you know that I named Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work one of my favorite books of 2013 to date.
I’m also a longtime fan of Dan Pink, so I was thrilled to hear that he interviewed the authors, Chip and Dan Heath, for his Office Hours podcast.
I listened to it over the weekend, and it reminded me why I loved the book so much. It also reminded me of one of my favorite takeaways, one that I immediately added to my mental toolkit and use all the time. (My toolkit needed some bolstering: I struggle with decision making.)
The Heath brothers recommend in Decisive (and on the podcast, which you can listen to here) that if you’re trying to make a decision, and you’re stuck, the single most effective question you can ask yourself is, “What would I tell my best friend to do in this situation?”
We’re collectively horrible about making decisions based on our short-term emotions. (It’s healthy for our emotions to influence our decision-making, but deciding anything based on short-term emotions produces terrible outcomes.)
So when we ask ourselves to consider our best friend, we automatically switch to long-range thinking. We reframe and refocus without even trying.
I’ve been running my own decisions through this framework ever since I read the book: Do I want to homeschool for another year? Do I want to add another four hours of household help this fall? When should we leave for vacation this year? Should we rent out our home for Derby? (Yeah, that’s a thing.)
So if you want to make a better decision, think about what would be in your friend’s best interest. It’ll be in yours, too.
Do you struggle with decision making? What are some questions you ask yourself in order to make better decisions? (Let me know if this is one of them!)