Quick Decision Test

From Weekly I/O#30

When to making quick decision? Happiness Test, Only-Option Test, Two-Way Door Test.

Book: How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices

Annie Duke is a poker champion and the author of another interesting book Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts. In How to Decide, she talks about when people should decide quickly and when they should slow down to gather more information. She introduces three tests that, if a decision passes any of these three tests, we can make a quick decision.

The first is the Happiness Test. When stuck on a decision like what to eat for dinner, which movie to watch, we should ask ourselves: "Will my happiness depend on this decision a week from now?". If not, we can decide quickly.

The second is the Only-Option Test. Most decisions are determined by threshold. In other words, we collect options and decide which one meets our satisfaction threshold. However, when we have two or more options that meet our standards, spending hours determining which option is the best is often just a waste of time. If going to company A has an 85% chance of being a good opportunity and going to company B has an 84% chance, just flip a coin and stop worrying and wasting time. The faster we pick, the more time we have to get more prepared for the opportunity. Therefore, when stuck on a decision between multiple great options, isolate one and ask ourselves: "Would I be happy to take it if this were my only option?" If yes, we can decide quickly.

The third is the Two-Way Door Test. In Jeff Bezos's words: "Some decisions are one‐way doors. If you walk through and don't like what you see on the other side, you can't get back to where you were before. But most decisions aren't like that ‐ they are changeable, reversible ‐ they're two‐way doors. If you've made a sub‐optimal two‐way door decision, you don't have to live with the consequences for that long. You can reopen the door and go back through". Therefore, when stuck on a decision that might be a two‐way door decision, ask ourselves: "Is the decision easily reversible?" If yes, we can decide quickly.

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