It’s a complex world, and we are constantly making decisions. Just imagine the number of decisions we make about breakfast: How big a breakfast should I have? Should I have coffee? If so, how much? Should I have toast? Should I use butter? Should I have one piece or two? Should I cut the toast? If so, should they be cut into rectangles or triangles? Should I keep the crust? Should I have juice? Should it be apple juice or orange juice? How about milk? I haven’t even gotten to the pancakes, waffles, syrup, sausage, cereal, bacon… (mmm, bacon…)
- We don’t know everything. We may not have all the information we might like in order to make our decisions. For example, if you’re playing a card game like poker or bridge, you don’t know what cards the other players have. This lack of knowledge is called uncertainty. Recognizing uncertainty is the first key to making better decisions, since uncertainty is all around us.
- We can’t know everything. The sheer number of possibilities for what we see in life makes it impossible to know things with certainty. (In fact, if you can believe it, quantum physics tells us we aren’t able to know everything, at least through our observations, but that’s another story…). There are things that we can get to the bottom of, but don’t sweat trying to get to the bottom of everything; you actually can’t.
- There are likely many possible explanations to what we see. Since we don’t (and can’t) know everything, there might be multiple reasons why the information we have came to us. This doesn’t mean that we should get overwhelmed and be afraid of making a wrong decision. Our job is to figure out the most likely explanation and then make our decision with the knowledge.
Question: Have you ever been uncomfortable making decisions because you felt you didn’t know enough? You can leave a comment below.