Make Better Decisions Even When You're Uncertain

When you’re making a decision on tough problems, you are always missing key information. Every decision is biased because it’s based on limited beliefs, assumptions and data points. You can never be sure of the outcome. Being uncertain can be a key to success because it opens you up to new ideas, insights and information to create the best possible future. Thinking in bets improves your decision-making.

When you’re making a decision on tough problems, you are always missing key information. Every decision is biased because it’s based on limited beliefs, assumptions and data points. You can never be sure of the outcome. 

A bet is a decision about an uncertain future. And decisions are bets in uncertain environments. 

As you seek to learn more, you start to peel back the layers. You become more skilled at finding different pathways and generating creative solutions to complex problems. When a problem cannot be solved with a simple technique or known procedure, being certain will block out conflicting and vital information. The more certain you are, the more-close minded you become. 

Being uncertain can be a key to success because it opens you up to new ideas, insights and information to create the best possible future. Thinking in bets improves your decision-making. You can embrace the power of saying “I am not sure” or “I don’t know.” 

In episode 25 of The Incrementalist podcast, you will learn: 
  • Life is like poker and decisions are bets in uncertain environments
  • Why uncertainty has benefits and how to embrace it
  • Some questions to ask when thinking in bets
  • The reasons you need to separate the outcome quality from the decision quality. (Hint: A good outcome can follow a bad decision and a bad outcome can result from a good decision.) 
  • The role of cognitive dissonance and motivated reasoning in decision-making
  • The advantages of getting out of your echo chambers and considering alternative viewpoints
  • Dr. Robert K. Merton’s ethos of science, or CUDOS approach, for group decision-making and dissenting to win
  • The 10-10-10 approach for your present self to make decisions for your future self
  • Why you need to break big stuff into small action steps to minimize high-pressure, high-stakes decision-making
Resources cited: 
Music by:
  • Sebastian Brian Mehr


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© 2021 Dyan Williams