A Guide To Better Decision-Making
WISE DECISIONS: A Science-Based Approach to Making Better Decisions by Dr. Jim Loehr and Dr. Sheila Ohlsson is a useful guide to understanding the science behind our decision-making and, more importantly, how to use this knowledge to make even better decisions.
This book makes you stop and think. It’s obvious, but have you considered that beliefs are merely opinions? And we all resist considering new relevant data that conflict with these beliefs. It’s obvious that faulty data leads to faulty decision making, but it’s difficult to admit when we fail to recognize faulty data. Instead, our brains distort reality and sometimes lead us to make bad decisions. In fact, the authors say, humans are particularly skilled at “fiction making,” and our brains’ attempts to get us what we want often undermine our ability to make good decisions.
Decision-making is not innate. The authors explain that it is a learned process that is influenced from birth by observing the way others make decisions and the resulting impact of those decisions. Emotions, self-esteem, and stress can all impact our decision-making. This book offers us ways to recognize and combat our flawed ways of thinking. It provides “seven lenses” (or points of view) through which we should look when faced with choices that will ultimately help us become the people we want to be. It gives us a guide, “Your Own Decision Advisor (YODA)” which, like the wise seer of Star Wars fame, we can turn to when we need answers. It aspires to help us not only make better decisions but also to guide others to make better decisions.
Parents and other adults who spend time with youth have much influence on a child’s decision-making abilities. This may be particularly true of teens; an entire chapter is dedicated to their parents. The teen brain is undergoing dramatic change, making these years a prime time to form new habits. The authors provide insight into how adults can help teens learn to make good decisions, including:
“We most effectively convey important lessons not by harsh, heavy-handed punitive messaging, but rather by subtly sliding in lessons below the radar of conscious awareness, not only by what we say but how we say it!”
And tips to influence that how, such as:
“A simple reflective pause, one that brings you calmness and perspective in a meta moment, can change everything for you and your ornery teen.”
They also offer much needed reassurance and encouragement:
“The spiritual pushback from your teen is not personal. Rather they are testing the boundaries you’ve established, something that is completely in line with their healthy growth and development.”
With a stated goal to “equip parents, teachers, coaches, and others with a concrete, science-based method for helping adults and youth achieve timeless wisdom in their everyday choices,” WISE DECISIONS provides enough of the science behind our thought and decision-making processes to be informative without being overwhelming. It explains mind/body connections and the underlying biochemical factors that influence our thoughts in an easy-to-digest manner. Included questions for self-reflection and actionable strategies to put into practice are sure to establish better decision-making habits.
Note: Though a digital copy was provided free of charge, no compensation was provided for this review. It is the honest opinion of the writer. KY