• Priya Venkatesan

How to decide among multiple positive outcomes?



I have two opportunities in front of me. I am confused what to pick. Both look so good and I am really grateful to be offered. However the choice is tough. When I lean towards one, I feel I am missing out on another.
                                                   ~ Senior Executive

The choice between positive outcomes is hard because of

  1. Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

  2. Opportunity cost.

While point 2 could be a valid, point 1 could be just in our head.

How do we address these?

1. FOMO



Ability to take Risk


As you grow in your career, risk taking is more valued than risk avoidance or mitigation.


So some risk tolerance and an ability to take strategic bets are highly important to scale and grow. Check what your risk appetite is before you make a decision.


If it's in the 'risk avoidance zone', then no wonder you sense that you are missing out. Increase your risk appetite by at least 10% and see which option looks better.


Brokering peace with Conflicting parts

Sometimes our head, heart and gut are saying three different things. Please know that you are the whole that ties them all together.


If you are being pulled on 3 different sides, its first imperative to pause and listen to the message which each part is telling you. There is always a beneficial intention behind each. Listen in silence and then broker peace that is acceptable for all the three.




Avoiding Comparison with others


Our mind works best on contrast (similar to a camera) or duality. To perceive light we need to know darkness and vice versa.


So there is a a tendency to compare / find a reference point. This is all by design until we decide that the reference point is someone else other than us.


The locus of control of our lives can never be outside us. Hence, have a reference point - but let that be the "you of yesterday". Else all things you have not chosen to do (and your peers have chosen to do) will appear very lucrative - the grass is greener on the other side :-)





2. Opportunity Cost

Opportunity cost is real and we need to pay attention to it.


There are 2 types of thinking that helps us come closer to a decision - Analytical & Synthesising.

And for people who make sense of the word by feeling, it's important to be conscious of it.


Analytical thinking


This is about breaking the problem into sub-parts and addressing it at a lower or granular scale.


The usual "pros and cons" approach belongs to this thinking. We look at both the options, and look at which one has more "pros" than "cons". This essentially means less risk and more rewards. This kind of thinking is more useful when you find yourself deciding between logical alternatives and also when there is high clarity on outcomes.



Synthesising


Connecting or Aggregating seemingly disparate parts to develop coherence is synthesising.


This requires chunking up, grouping, connecting the dots and developing a story line.


Ability to project a particular option into the future and assess what it can possibly open is a different way to look at various options before making a decision. More on this here.



Feelings


Sometimes decisions appear hard because some of us "feelers", use feelings (that are heart based) to judge their validity. Hence the head can't help create it. The easiest way to get past it is this - think of the last time that you made a decision that later worked out right.

What were you feeling then in your body and your heart? Whatever option right now gives a feeling closer to it, will more often be the right decision for you.



So when you are making a decision, evaluate your risk appetite, make peace with conflicting parts, avoid comparison with others, use synthesising and analytical thinking as needed and also use the right modality that codifies your experience in memory.


What works for you - to better choose and decide - when you are offered multiple positive outcomes?


#decisionmaking #leadershipcoaching #executivecoaching

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