Let me ask you something:
Have you ever looked back at a past situation and felt that you might have made a wrong decision in that situation?
I’m pretty sure you have.
Well, what if I told you that more often than not, these wrong “regretful” decisions are actually the correct ones.
In this article, we explain the reason behind this paradox by presenting a technique aimed to help you understand decisions better, so you can be a kick-ass decision maker.
Also, remember that good decision-making skills can develop you into a much more stable and powerful person. It’s a great skill to have.
Let’s start by considering a very common scenario:
Pretend you’re faced with a situation wherein you can make one of three possible decisions, A, B or C, and you decide to go with decision C based on some criteria. You have faith in your decision and so you give it your all to execute decision C, hoping for a favorable outcome.
Sometime later, you have the outcome of your decision in front of you, and unfortunately, you don’t like it. You tell yourself that you should have gone with A or B instead of C, while simultaneously imagining the possible favorable outcomes that could have resulted from those decisions – basically, you regret your decision.
Believe me, this happens all the time to a lot of us, and it’s something we don’t pay much attention to. The technique we’re about to introduce eases decision-making in many common scenarios of life, and if your decision goes wrong, it also helps measure whether the regret associated with a wrong decision is justifiable.
Use the Best-Response Approach in making your decisions
What the hell is the Best-Response Approach anyway?
I learned to make the best out of this approach the hard way, through rough repeated experiences, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn it from here.
The Best-Response Approach basically helps you decide what your “best response” should be when faced with a decision dilemma. It also helps you automate many simple decisions of your life, where you may repeatedly find yourself in the same dilemma.
Simply put, the goal of the Best-Response Approach is to help you determine what’s the best or right thing to do in any situation.
This approach was actually inspired by the Nash Equilibrium concept in Game Theory, where the best response is the strategy which produces the most favorable outcome for a player, taking other players’ strategies as constant. Our approach is not the same thing as Nash’s, but it is similar.
Let’s see how it works.
Applying the Best-Response Approach to the earlier scenario
In the earlier scenario, the person chose Option C, then later regretted it. Let’s assume he used the Best-Response Approach in choosing Option C, that is, at that point in time, Option C was the best thing to do.
If he used this approach while making his decision and later on, the outcomes were bad, then he is wrong to regret his decision.
Because if he looks back, Option C was the best thing he could do at the time he made the decision. So in the past, if you made a decision that was best at the time you made your decision, then you have no business regretting it now regardless if the outcome is good or bad.
That’s how a decision could be right even if its outcome turns out bad.
Next time when you find yourself regretting something, consider using this technique and see how much faster your frustration from negative outcomes goes away, so you can focus on your next move instead of fussing and crying over your wrong decision or wasted effort.
This also implies another important thing. In every decision you make, always try to take the best decision you can at that point in time or simply do the right thing, without worrying about the outcome. The outcome isn’t in your hands, but the decision certainly is.
Use the Best-Response Approach to develop Habits
The Best-Response Approach can be multiplied to be of good use in many aspects of life. One of its great uses is to develop good habits. I personally used it to develop several habits.
For instance, I used to often ponder whether to multi-task or to single-task in menial work situations. Through experience and expert advice, I learned that single-tasking is always faster, better and more efficient in performing small or menial tasks. So I made my “best response” to single-task whenever I face such a situation or dilemma. (Note: Multi-tasking is better for long-term tasks and goals)
Just like that, you can use your experience with similar situations in the past to make the right decisions going forward.
This approach could be used in infinitely many other levels. Other best-responses could be: to not worry and be strong in stressful situations, to not procrastinate the moment you realize you’re procrastinating, to immediately remind yourself of your end goal whenever you feel down, and many more.
If you master your best responses to decisions you commonly and repeatedly have to make, you will save the time required to think about what to do.
I’ve effectively used the Best-Response Approach to make many of my decisions and actions, and I’ve basically built my life around a multitude of best responses – many of my actions in life are actually best responses I’ve developed over time.
I used to struggle developing desirable habits before, and this approach helped me overcome that too. All I had to do is completely submit myself to using this approach, and the efficiency followed.
It’s amazing how a psychological technique like this can have such a great impact on our lives. And if you’re still reading, you probably have what it takes to pull off this technique.
Give this a try, trust the process, and you will be amazed how you can become a much stronger decision-maker.
If you have any questions or comments or want to learn more about the Best-Response Approach, please share them with us below!
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