Become Decision Fit

By applying the principles and process described here, we can reach DQ in a systematic manner. Although the approach is sound for all decisions, it is not practical for the many in-the-moment decisions where time is short. Some of these in-the-moment decisions can be life shaping—e.g., our response in emergencies or our choice to become a passenger with a driver that has been drinking alcohol. Also, the sum total of many small decisions, when taken together, may have a very big impact on our life.

Build Good Decision Habits

How can we develop decision fitness, so that our decision reflexes will be on when needed?

Policies and Habits

Think ahead and decide what you would do in certain circumstances. You can develop a policy (a decision rule) that over time becomes an ingrained habit. For example, adopting the policy of not getting in a car when the driver has been drinking will help counter peer pressure. In the moment, we may not have the time or the good judgment to consider the potential consequences of joining an unfit driver. Reaching clarity and a disciplined commitment ahead of time is a powerful way to develop good reflexes and enhance decision fitness.

Practice and Simulation

Gain experience through practice. For example, sports require many in-the-moment decision skills, and only those who practice diligently will acquire them. Another form of practice is simulation, like a pilot spending hours in a flight simulator to be ready for an engine failure.

Using decision games or role-plays— in which the participants encounter experiential learning opportunities can help develop our decision skills to the point of their becoming automatic.

The Six Elements

Gain a deep understanding of and skill for making quality decisions so as to rapidly go through the six elements of DQ in the moment. This skill could have saved many lives in the Rhode Island nightclub fire, in which 100 people perished.

Four exits were available, and 90% of the occupants rushed to the familiar front exit. Just as a good baseball swing takes no more time than a bad one, we can learn how to make quality decisions the first time quickly.

Know When You Are Unfit

Sometimes, we are simply unfit to make decisions. We may be in a bad emotional state—angry, in shock, tired, or euphoric—or we may be under the influence of drugs.

We need to have enough presence of mind NOT to make decisions then and ask for help or postpone a decision. We can also be helpful to others when we recognize that they are unfit to make a decision.