How do you make the biggest decisions you face, the ones that have significant consequences and can change your life? Choices like whether to get married, move, attend a certain college, take a particular job, and so on? If you’re like a lot of people, you just kind of wing it, and maybe draw up a basic pros and cons list.
My guest today has studied the latest research in decision making theory and formulated a better approach. His name is Steven Johnson, his latest book is Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most, and today he walks us through how to move beyond listing pros and cons to using a more effective 3-step decision making process. We begin our conversation discussing how most people make decisions and how it hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years. Steven then walks us through the phases of a better decision-making methodology, including developing a more creative map of the possibilities before you, accurately predicting the outcomes of those options, and questioning the narratives you have about your choices. Steven then makes the case that reading novels and watching quality television shows can be a great way to train our brains in the skill of decision making. We end our conversation discussing what the raid on Osama bin Laden can teach us about making good decisions.

Show Highlights

  • Why the standard pros/cons list is outdated
  • Steven’s own experience making complex life choices 
  • Why decision making is so important 
  • How one of the great urban parks in America was lost before it was ever built 
  • Benjamin Franklin’s “moral algebra” 
  • Why it’s so important to think of 2nd and 3rd order consequences of decisions 
  • What is “mapping” in decision making?
  • How to get better at predicting decision outcomes (and how to use those predictions)
  • How reading novels and watching TV can help you make better decisions 
  • What the Osama bin Laden raid can teach about decision making 
  • How to avoid groupthink in making important decisions as a group 

Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast

Connect With Steven

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Steven on Twitter

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The post Podcast #486: How to Get Better at Making Life-Changing Decisions appeared first on The Art of Manliness.

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