How to Make Better Decisions

How to Make Better Decisions

By Marcia Reynolds

Image courtesy of cbenjasuwan at

Wouldn’t it be great to feel confident about your choices…to know the answers under pressure and decide without thinking?

Be careful what you wish for.

As a human, your brain cannot see all possibilities. Having a sense of confidence in who you are is good for yourself and others around you. Feeling absolute confidence in what you know is risky.

Yes, taking the time to talk about a problem may not work in emergency situations. Yet when faced with daily decisions, the more you practice looking at all the elements that could be affecting the situation and your thinking, the better your decisions. This is hard to practice on your own.

The best decisions are made in conversation.

No matter how smart you are, thinking through a complex issue can rarely be done well in isolated analysis. For the same reason you can’t tickle yourself, you can’t fully explore your own thoughts. When someone else adeptly challenges your reasoning, your consciousness can go to new depths.

In other words, you need others to help you reveal your blind spots.

A blind spot is something you didn’t know you knew at the time, or possibly, “you didn’t know you didn’t know because you thought you knew what you needed to know already.” Blind spots hurt you when you don’t consider their existence when making an important decision. You instinctively know this because after you make a mistake, you admit you should have known better.

To uncover your blind spots, you have to have the courage to let go of knowing. As Malcolm Gladwell said in Blink, “We need to accept our ignorance and say ‘I don’t know’ more often.”

Coaching Tip: Find someone who can help you become more aware of your blind spots. Do you have a friend you respect and trust enough to allow him or her to question your judgment? Do you know someone who will be honest and straight with you? If not, hire a coach. This deep, enlightening and gratifying conversation is coaching at its best.

Then commit to being this open and honest with others. You’ll be amazed at what you truly know when you give up thinking you already know the answers.

About the Author

Marcia ReynoldsMarcia Reynolds, PsyD, works with clients worldwide focusing on emotional intelligence and change. She is a Master Certified Coach and a past president of the International Coach Federation. Her website is

Contact her at 602-954-9030,