Decision-Making

Who helps you make decisions?

Best Decisions

I enjoy researching and writing about decision-making. This is one topic that, regardless of the years of experience, there is always room for improvement.

I recently came across an interesting perspective[1] on decisions that suggests that the best decisions are not based on experiences, material goods or personal philosophy, but on who you decide to hang out with.

That’s right. If you want to make good decisions, befriend the right kinds of people.

Decision Fatigue       

According to this idea, the first reason to choose the right friends is that decision making is hard work. We only have so much energy to devote to making choices, so we need reliable help to aid us along the way.

This is called decision fatigue and is suggested to be the reason we see Mark Zuckerberg wear the same gray t-shirt, Steve Jobs in the black turtleneck, and Albert Einstein in the same suit. They want to save their mindful energy for important decisions, not waste it on minor clothing selections.

According to this theory, if they each had reliable help to make decisions, they would have had the energy to vary their wardrobe.

Biases

The second reason we need to do a good job of picking our friends is that our decisions are fraught with biases.  We turn a rational choice into an irrational one.  We misremember good and bad experiences, and we try to follow nonexistent social cues.  The US, Small Business Administration, has advised us to keep the opinions of others in perspective when making a decision because we both over-estimate and under-estimate their value.

So, who you are with and the quality of their opinions helps us see through our biases and make better decisions.

Act Alike

Third, have you noticed that by just being next to people, many of our mannerisms and choices tend to align with them? Motivational speaker Jim Rohn says we are the average of the five people we hang out with. We talk fast when others talk fast, we tell funny stories when others are telling funny stories, and we even adopt an accent when around someone from another country.

By looking at your friends, you can get an idea of what you look, act and talk like.

The Bible

I do think choosing your friends is one of the best decisions you can make.  Here several of the many verses in the Bible about choosing friends.

1 Corinthians 15:33 – “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’”

Proverbs 13:20 – “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

Proverbs 18:24 – “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Proverbs 27:17 – “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.”

Proverbs 12:26 – “One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.”

There is little doubt that making decisions takes energy and is biased, but having the right friends help you along the ways certainly makes the decisions easier.

If you want to improve your decision-making ability, consider hanging out with the kind of people who make the kinds of decisions you want to make. 

 

 

 

[1] Chris Weller, Business Insider Magazine, “A Neuroscientist Who Studies Decision-Making Shares His Best Advice for Living Healthier”, found at: http://www.businessinsider.com/healthy-living-advice-neuroscientist-decisionmaking-2017-12