The distinction between a good decision and a good outcome is very important.
When we face uncertainty, we can make a good decision and yet get a bad outcome. For example, we can choose to apply for a job we really want but not get it. This does not mean we shouldn’t have gone after it. If another appealing job opportunity comes again, we would apply again.
Similarly, we can make a bad decision and have a good outcome. Suppose we didn’t buy car insurance for a year, but we didn’t get ticketed and didn’t get in an accident. We were fortunate: we made a poor decision and got away with it.
Good decisions do not guarantee good outcomes, but— on average—consistently better decisions lead to consistently better outcomes.
The quality of a decision is limited by the alternatives we consider.
We can’t choose an alternative we haven’t thought of! Many people assume they have few or no alternatives. Yet there usually are many more alternatives than appear at first glance. Sometimes, we don’t like the alternatives that are immediately apparent.