Three Questions to Better Decisions

1. What’s the worst that can happen?

This is hands down one of my favorite questions. It turns out very few scenarios come with the risk of mortality or debt, and the upside often far outweighs the negatives.

2. How will you feel about your decision in 10 minutes? 10 months? 10 years?

As Annie Duke phrases it in Thinking in Bets, “To avoid making decisions that favor our present self at the expense of future self, use the 10/10/10 approach”. The famous Marshmallow test is a testament to our desire for instant gratification. Pausing to ask this question helps us take a look at long-term consequences and make smarter decisions.

3. Do your decisions make sense from an unbiased third person perspective?

This one is designed to combat the notorious blind spot bias in us. Blind spot bias is an irrationality where people are better at recognizing biased reasoning in others but are blind to bias in themselves. Imagine floating out of your body and watching the scenario from miles and miles above in the clouds. A lot of the things we worry about in daily life seem inconsequential from that distant perspective.

Me somewhere on a volcanic island in Iceland, with 360 degree view and nobody in sight as far as the eye can see

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Rebecca Panja

Rebecca Panja

Software Engineer at Medium. Sharing my experiences and learnings from moving to San Francisco alone, being employee #1 at a startup and more :)