387: How to Make Increasingly Better Choices Each Day
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In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about how to make increasingly better choices in your life and your business.
Decision making is one of the most difficult things that a human can do. People often say that they find it hard to make decisions.
Unfortunately, we all have to make decisions all the time, and this could range from trivial issues like what to have for breakfast, right up to make or break decisions like who to hire in your business and so on.
Tune in to this week’s episode to hear Steli and Hiten thought on how to get better at decision making, why it’s important to figure out what you’re basing your decisions on, how to choices that make you feel happy about and much more.
Time Stamped Show Notes:
00:00 About today’s topic.
00:35 Why this topic was chosen.
01:06 A bit of background into how this topic came up.
01:43 How a lot of our choices are made out of the fear of missing out on something.
03:03 Why it’s important to figure out what you’re basing your decisions on.
03:47 How to make a choice that you feel happy about.
04:23 Why making decisions based on our emotions is really difficult.
05:06 A really inconvenient decision Steli made this year.
07:46 How to get better at decision making.
08:48 Why it’s a good idea to thinking about any decision you make.
3 Key Points:
- When you make a choice or a decision, you should ask yourself if it’s coming out of fear or trust.
- When you’re trying to make a decision, figure out why you’re leaning to that decision and make sure it’s not fear.
- People tend to make poor decisions when they make them out of fear.
Steli Efti: Hey, everybody. This is Steli Efti.
Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah.
Steli Efti: And in today’s episode of the Startup Chat we’re gonna talk about how to make increasingly better choices. This is another episode brought to you by a Twitter storm from Hiten, right? Hiten, your Twitter’s been on fire in the last few days. At least I really appreciate it. You ask this, you had a few tweets about making increasingly better choices in life and kind of a little bit of a framework. You got a lot of responses. I want to just unpack this topic of making good choices or better choices on the podcast. Kind of share how you think about this, add my two cents, and hopefully help people to improve when it comes to their choice making abilities.
Hiten Shah: Yeah, sounds good. It was yesterday at like six p.m., so it was like recently from when we were recording this, not when the podcast release and I wrote, “Our choices dictate our reality. Find ways to make increasingly better choices each day.” And it got me thinking and the reason is I went on to talk about basically the idea that when you make a choice, you’re really making a decision and when you do that you should ask yourself is it coming out of fear or trust. And an example I gave is the idea of the fear of missing out and how a lot of choices that we make and decision we make are out of missing out on something. So, we just go with a decision, because we think if we don’t we’re going to miss out on something. You know, that was it. It wasn’t a long one or anything. Then I came to basically the point of saying you know, I felt like to needed to answer the question, “Well, okay. You’re saying I shouldn’t do it out of fear, then you’re saying trust is a better method. How do I make a decision coming from trust versus coming from fear?” And basically my answer to that is just when you make a decision or are considering making a decision, whatever the decision is that you’re leaning towards or wanting to make, figure out why. Make sure it’s not fear. And a lot of it has to do with trusting yourself. There is a thing. Like, if you’re making a decision out of fear, it’s coming from a lack of trust. Fear is a lack of trust, right? Like, if you fear you’re going to cross the street and get run over, you don’t trust yourself to cross the street.
Steli Efti: You don’t trust yourself, yeah.
Hiten Shah: Right. So, that was it. It was just a quick rant last night ’cause I was thinking and I was like, “You know, this decision making thing really bugs me in general.” I think people tend to make poor decision when they make ’em out of fear.
Steli Efti: All right. So, I love everything you said, right? So, let’s unpack this a bit further. So, I think that one thing that’s important is asking the question of why am I making the choices I’m making or why have a made the decision that I’ve made. What’s my rationale? What’s the emotional state of mind that I’m making this decision out of? Right? So, I think that that is something that most people, this is basically a stepping back and evaluating the decision maker as well as the decision, right? So, evaluating yourself and why and how you’re making the decision you’re making as well as the decision. I think most people, we tend to just be ourselves, not step back. So, when we think about making a choice or a decision, we’re just thinking, “What is the right choice? What is the right decision? What is the best decision?” And oftentimes, honestly, especially when it’s emotionally hard ones, best really to me often translates to “most convenient”, right? Or the one that I’m most happy about.
Hiten Shah: Right.
Steli Efti: How can I make a choice that I’m gonna fell happy about? How can I make a decision that will feel good and feel easy to me? It’s not really … Like emotionally a lot of times we’re not really looking for what is the right thing to do. We’re looking for what is the right and convenient thing to do. And if we can’t find convenient, we keep looking for solutions, right? Well, ah, I can’t find the right choice here. I can’t make the decision. What to do? Why? Well, I don’t know. You know, I don’t know what the right decision is, it’s just oftentimes we really know. It’s not that difficult rationally, but emotionally it’s really challenging, because we’re looking for something that will make us feel comfortable going with, right? We’re looking for a choice that is comfortable. And unless it’s not comfortable, we keep looking, right? Or we keep going back and forth between choices. So, I think the stepping back and really analyzing what is my state of mind? What are the emotions that I’m feeling right now? What is the emotional state that I’m looking for when making this decision? Am I looking for comfort? Am I looking for security? Am I looking for excitement? Am I looking for easiness and ease, right? Is the right decision … I’ll tell you, I had a decision made you know, at the beginning of this year, and I knew a very specific thing about it, but if I had pulled through with it, I knew it would have been incredibly inconvenient to me, like, I basically was like, I know. Whatever. Option A’s the right option, but I also know Option A’s going to be very uncomfortable to me, because it requires me to change in all these ways I don’t want to change.
Hiten Shah: Right.
Steli Efti: So, you know, the thing I didn’t do and the mistake I’m not making as much today is I didn’t look for an Option B or C or D, right? I didn’t try to look for something that’s more convenient, but the mistake I still made was that I still was standing in front of Option A, door Option A, and was like, “I know I need to do this, but I’m not ready right now. I’m gonna do this tomorrow.” And then the next day I was like, “Not quite ready yet, but I’m getting there and I know I need to do this.” It just took me a bit of kicking it down the road until I was finally like, “Fuck it. I need to go through this door and kick the door down and walk through it and make the changes.” Then it felt great. Still looking back, I’m like, “Why did it take me all these weeks versus doing it immediately?”
Hiten Shah: Right.
Steli Efti: That sucks. That’s definitely something I want to improve. But I think asking yourself what is the emotional state I’m looking for when making this decision is a weird question, but I think can be enlightening if it’s like fear –
Hiten Shah: I like that.
Steli Efti: – right? Is it that I’m trying to not be afraid anymore? Am I trying not to feel left out anymore? Am I trying to feel comfortable or relaxed? Like, what is it that I’m trying to feel when making this decision? And that feeling that we’re seeking can be an indicator or signal for maybe going down the wrong path or looking for the wrong thing in terms of how you make choices. One question that I had for you on those tweets from that I was wondering about is … ’cause I asked myself this question, I was like, you know, am I making increasingly better choices each day? Right?
Hiten Shah: Right.
Steli Efti: And when I ask myself this question, I could not instantly … I did not have an instant answer, which made me believe probably no. I think if I said, “Do I make increasingly better choices every year?” I’d be very confident. I’d be like, “Yes!” I’m pretty confident.
Hiten Shah: Right.
Steli Efti: Like, when I look back a year from now at certain ways of how I made decisions, how quickly I moved on things, I’ve grown and I can point to specific examples where I’m making better choices today, but not daily, not weekly, not monthly. And it’s even weird the way I track this, right? It’s kind of wishy washy. So, I was just wondering to see if you have any kind of methodology? How do you think about even tracking if you’re making better choices in life? If you’re getting better at your decision making and your choice making process? Like, how do you know if you’re progressing there?
Hiten Shah: Yeah. Man, like look. There’s this thing called metacognition, which means you’re thinking about thinking.
Steli Efti: Uh-huh. (affirmative).
Hiten Shah: And I feel like the only way I found for myself to get better at decision making, you know, some people would say, “Oh, you make a decision and you see what happens.” Like, did it work out or not, right? And then that’s one way to figure out if you made a good decision as you look at, okay, I made a decision, was it a good one? Then you make sure on every decision trying to figure out how do I determine whether it’s a good decision or not. Right? That’s one way to do it. What I’ve found is I want to get better at decision making in the moment of making a decision more than I want to get better at decision making after I make a decision. So, I just think about what you just said. I think about thinking. So, I think about why am I making this decision. I think about what is the emotion behind this decision. I think about that a lot. And I don’t mean I spend a lot of time on it, I just mean that when I’m going to make a decision I think about it, right? And I make sure that, like I even think about things like, “Is this a decision I can’t undo or is this a decision I can undo?” ‘Cause if I can undo it, why am I even thinking about it? Why don’t I just do it? I mean, another way to look at it too is I think when you put this is the business lines organizationally, are people making decisions that just don’t matter? Are they worried about all these things that don’t matter right now? And how do you help people decide what they should worry about? So, to me unpacking choices and decisions and all that is really important if you want to make better ones. It’s not about I made a decision, was it good or bad? it’s much more about which decisions are you making? Why are you even bothering making the decisions you are? Can you undo them? How fast are you doing them? So, to me, like, yeah. I think when you say a year passes and you know you’ve gotten better at decision making, yeah. That makes sense. But what you might be doing like many people do is worrying about decisions after you’ve made them in terms of was it good or bad? I’d rather think through the decision making earlier and even go fundamental and say should I make this decision or not? Does it even matter?
Steli Efti: I love it. All right. Let’s wrap this one up. This was super useful. Thank you so much for listening. If you’ve not done this yet, do us a favor, please. Go to iTunes and give us a five star review.
Hiten Shah: Yep.
Steli Efti: I would highly appreciate that.
Hiten Shah: Oh, yeah.
Steli Efti: And as always, as always, you know, we’ve been getting a few emails from you guys recently. We always love to hear from you. You can always get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com if you have feedback, ideas, or just some big choices to make and you need some feedback on how to make better choices, how to think differently about it, we always love to hear from you. That’s it from us. We’ll see you very soon.
Hiten Shah: See ya.