Do you like making bad decisions? I’m 100% sure you don’t and would rather make good ones. Unfortunately, making good decisions isn’t easy when you don’t know why you make bad ones in the first place. So, why do we make bad decisions? That’s a good place to start…
Emotions, assumptions and stubbornness are drivers of bad decisions. Each one, makes us ignorant of our blindspots of how easy it is to fall into the trap. To make good decisions we have widen our perspective because we all have one perspective; ours. But that isn’t the whole perspective. We all make bad decisions because we fail to pay attention to our blind spots.
Which begs the question: how might we become aware of our own thinking blind spots?
Here are 3 ways to become aware of your thinking blindspots:
- Seek out information that goes against your views;
- Invite others to question your thinking;
- Question your assumptions.
Seek out information that goes against your views
In 2011 Ali Pariser released a book called the Filter Bubble. The premise of the book is about intellectual isolation, and how social media made us more ignorant because social networks “filter” information based on our “likes”; therefore reinforcing our likes and beliefs. This creates confirmation bias, which occurs when people ignore new information that contradicts existing beliefs.
You have to seek out information that contradicts your beliefs. Easy, right? Not so. Seeking out information that goes againsts our views isn’t something we think about on a day to day basis, nor do we get intuitively. Still, we all fall pray to confirmation bias all the time. Whether it’s what we read, watch and who we meet and talk to, we have to be deliberate about seeking information sources that we wouldn’t normally seek out.
Your head will hurt, and you won’t like it because nobody likes it when their beliefs are challenged. But you’ll like making better decisions, and I didn’t say this was going to be easy.
Invite others to question your thinking
Many years ago a friend of mine was starting a business and wanted to raise some money; part of the process was writing a business plan. He asked me to “destroy it” when he finished writing it. His business didn’t change dramatically after I reviewed it, but his thinking about the “how” and “who” did.
At the highest levels of success it becomes more important because the more successful one becomes the less they invite others to question their thinking. Again, I go back to perspective. Expanding your perspective by inviting others to question your thinking is very powerful way to shine a light on your blindspots.
To make this tactic more powerful, it’s important that you have a list of people that you can come to who don’t think like you and will sharpen your thinking. Anyway, I’ll leave you with this: To believe you know everything and can do no wrong is foolish. Inviting others to question your thinking is wise.
Question your assumptions
Similar to the previous point, you can also question your own thinking; specifically your assumptions. We all make them, and most are not aware of them. Assumption are ideas you take for granted. For example, the world of business is riddled with assumptions. There are industries that have operated for a long time by following a set of assumptions, doing so creates stagnation. Startups disrupt those industries by challe0nging and overcoming those assumptions, creating a new set of practices that disrupt the status quo.
Both people and organizations develop blindspots the longer they do something, they start taking ideas as a given. Again, you have to be deliberate in challeging your assumptions to shine a light on those blind spots.
Bottom line: Making good decisions is about following a robust thinking process. You’ll make 10x better decisions once you develop and follow a process of shinning a spotlight on your blind spots.