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Discover the Factors that Lead to Bad Decisions

While good decisions result in new opportunities and benefits, bad ones often lead to serious problems. If you do not want to have regrets, you must realize the circumstances and factors that result in poor decisions, so that you can avoid them in future. This MissionSelf article will tell you what makes us take bad decisions.
Madhushree Kelkar
"In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing."

- Theodore Roosevelt

"I wish I had known this before" is a statement often said by us when we realize that we have made bad decisions. It would have been so much better for us to take accurate decisions, had we known the factors that lead to bad ones. It would have helped us sideline the urge to take the wrong decision and cast our vote in favor of the right one.
Imagine a scenario where you get job offers from two companies. While company A is huge, it does not offer a good remuneration. On the other hand, company B is a small one but pays you well and will also give you a good work experience. You will have to take a tough decision by giving it a serious thought, according to the decision's viability and impact on your life.

Knowing exactly what causes us to make bad decisions will help us channel our emotions and thoughts in the right direction. Here is a list of surprising factors that lead to bad decisions so that you can avert focusing on them.
Lack of Foresight
Many times, we tend to concentrate only on the 'right now' of a certain decision and fail to understand its repercussions on our future. Ideally, we should have the vision and practice proactive thinking to predict the changes in future in order to arrive at a suitable decision. For example, if you are venturing into a business dealing with electronic gadgets, you must be able to predict the future trends and upgrade your stock before your competitors. In order to make a decision, you must have a futuristic and progressive approach.
Dependency on Others
Often, we get confused and leave some of the most important decisions of our life in the hands of others. The problem with this approach is that the other person may not be as involved in the decision as you are, or may not be able to do justice to the situation by taking the right decision. You must refrain from asking others to decide for you at all costs. For example, you are trying to buy a new mobile but are not able to decide. So, you ask your friend to choose it for you. The result is that you may get a phone, which is not as per your requirements and has no utility for you.
Incorrect Assumptions
Making incorrect and unrealistic assumptions about a person, situation, or object can induce you into making a bad decision. We often base our views on the history of our experiences. However, as people, situations, and things keep changing from time to time, it is best to judge them as they are, without assuming things. For example, you decide not to interact much with your colleague because you assumed she was mean-minded. However, she was the only one who helped you in completing your assignment.
Lack of Proper Research
Before coming to any decision, you must always research about the feasibility of your decision. You must conduct a SWAT analysis and understand the pros and cons of your decision. You must consider the impact of the decision on the concerned parties who will get affected by it. This will help you take the right decision. For example, you decide to change your job, but you research and find that the new job may not add value to your career development. Hence, you decide to explore opportunities at your current workplace.
Short-term Thinking
Short-term thinking is one of the biggest mistakes that people commit during the process of making a decision. They do not realize that the decision they are taking today will affect their present as well as future. What seems correct and applicable now may not turn out to be a good decision eventually. For example, splurging your hard-earned money on impulsive shopping may leave you with meager savings. As opposed to this, if you decide to save your money, you will reap long-term benefits.
Emotional Thinking
Many times, people end up listening to their heart rather than their head, and make a wrong decision. If you are running a business, then it is crucial that you take decisions practically, not emotionally. Giving too much leverage to emotionally-driven decisions can gradually cause problems for you. You must always emphasize on making practical, result-oriented decisions. For example, you stop working as you find it difficult to concentrate because of the emotional problems in your personal life. It will not only take a toll on your financial status but also aggravate your emotional state.
Rigid Beliefs
Another deterrent to taking accurate decisions is following a rigid set of beliefs. Every aspect of our personal and professional life keeps on changing, and it is imperative that we accept this. If we continue to view the world through old glasses, bad decisions are bound to be taken. We must accept reality and adapt to novel circumstances. For example, you may be into business since the last many years and do not charge interest on late payments from customers. However, in order to make them pay on time, you will have to levy a nominal amount of interest as late-payment charges.
Preconceived Notions and Biases
Most of us harbor preconceived notions and biases about others. We should learn to judge others by interacting with them. Jumping to conclusions about anyone or anything will not help you take the right decision. In fact, it will lead you to judge them incorrectly and make a wrong decision. For example, you may not think that a certain person is capable of doing a job. But only when you interact with him and give him the responsibility to execute a job, will you understand how he performs.
Risk of Uncertainty
If you have to take a drastic decision, your mind will be raided with thoughts of all the uncertainties associated with it. This will make you choose a relatively safer decision, which may not prove beneficial for you. It is best to conduct a risk and reward analysis, before concluding anything hastily. It will help you understand how the decision will impact you. For example, you want to invest in an IPO of a certain stock, which is predicted to boom in future. However, you decide to make savings deposits in the bank.
Too Many Choices
You could get confused as you have to make a choice from a variety of options, and zeroing in on a single one can be challenging. You may find it difficult to judge what will work for you and what won't. Hence, it is best to discard the choices and select only a few to make the final decision. This will save a lot of time and enable you to come up with an accurate decision. For example, you may get confused if you go to buy shoes but have limited money. In this scenario, you will have to choose shoes, which will go with your outfits, are trendy, durable, and within your budget.
Not Challenging the Facts
While researching the facts before coming to a decision, many people do not take the effort of asking the right questions or challenging the facts. This does not make them aware about the complete truth, and it may so happen that their decision may prove to be wrong. For example, you may hire someone who claims to have a good experience, but unless you see all the paperwork, you should not go ahead.
Not Taking Timely Decisions
Certain issues need to be mitigated urgently. If you waste time in taking a decision, it will not prove to be worthy. You should always make the right decision at the right time.

There is no point in deciding after the time has elapsed, as it may not serve the purpose and turn out to be a bad judgment. For example, you are planning to buy a car, which you can purchase at a 20% discount for a particular duration. If you decide to buy it after the scheme is over, you will not be able to reap the benefits of the discount.
The course of our life is defined by the effective decisions we take for our future. And if we want to take effective ones, we should not have half knowledge about facts. Some other reasons that may lead to bad decisions are not involving experts, unforeseen problems, lack of communication, not learning from the past, and lack of reasoning. You will be surprised to know that your decisions may be affected due to your hormones, an empty stomach, and even sleep deprivation. Now that you know the factors that lead to bad decisions, weigh its pros and cons, and ensure that you arrive at the right decision.