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A Simple Way to Make a Decision

Do you have a decision to make? Are you unable to make decisions? Here’s a tactic we heard on the To the Lost episode of Boardwalk Empire:

Flip a coin.

Whether it comes up heads or tails barely matters. What does matter is how you feel when it’s in the air. What are you hoping for?

It’s your intuition at work. And ultimately, it can be an important decision-making tool. If you prefer, you can use a Magic 8 ball to make your next decision.

(Unless you usually get it wrong. Then you may want to use
George Costanza’s technique.)

Whatever you do, there’s an important concept underlying these methods. It’s a systematic way to apply your intuition. Once you grasp it, it will help you make decisions in life.

Frame your options as a binary choice: heads or tails, yes or no, this or that, either or.

For example, let’s say you want to start a business. One question you may ask is when.

So get out your coin. Heads you’ll go into business now. Tails you’ll wait.

Flip the coin in the air. Do you feel a knot in your stomach? Which side do you want to come up?

More importantly, don’t stop there. Take the hoped-for answer and expand on it. Create a series of choices:

Part-time or full-time? Online or off? Start or buy? Independent or franchise?

Of course, the choices will be determined in part by the type of business you want to own. Step-by-step, you’re creating a decision tree.

By getting it on paper, you’ll be able to quickly see how choices now affect options later. You can weigh what you’re giving up against what you’re getting. Then you’ll be able to make a decision that leads to BIGG success!

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3 Action Items to Increase Your Productivity

In a new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a group of researchers surveyed 58 random people in a shopping mall. These researchers asked the participants to recall the decisions they had made that day. Then the researchers asked the participants to solve some simple math problems. They found that the more decisions a participants had made, the less likely they were to solve the problems.

 

There appears to be a price to making decisions – we become less productive as we make more decisions. And boy, do we have to make a lot of decisions today!

A six item grocery list
Picture yourself in a grocery store holding a list with six items – orange juice, bagels, Philadelphia cream cheese, Crest toothpaste, Coke, and lettuce.

In 1970, with that list you would have had a choice of 50 items. By 1998, you would need to filter through 250 different products just to get all the items on your list.

This comes from the spectacular book, Simplicity Marketing: End Brand Complexity, Clutter, and Confusion by Steven M. Cristol and Peter Sealey.

Think about it – that was 1998. Do you think it’s any better now?

3 bigg action items to simplify decision making

#1 – Make a list that’s specific.

So specific in fact, that you could send someone else and get exactly what you want. Studies show that people who shop with a list don’t buy as many impulse items so they tend to spend less money.

More importantly, it saves you time and mental fatigue as the studies showed.

#2 – Set a time limit when you’re making a major decision.

Before you begin doing research for a bigg decision, set a time limit. Once you’re satisfied with your findings or once you reach your time limit, make a decision.

As an example, we recently set up the web site for Bigg Studio, a sister company to Bigg Success, for audio production services. We needed to decide on the design for the site. There were an endless number of possibilities. We chose one that fit our criteria and moved on.

Here’s another tip that we love – get out your magic 8 ball. Ask it if you made the right decision. Look at its answer and see how you feel about it. This taps into your intuition about the decision which makes getting to the decision you’re most comfortable easier.

If you like this idea, here are a couple of links you might find helpful:

#3 – Become a partner in stress relief for the important people in your life.
Get to know the preferences of the people who depend on you, like your customers, your co-workers, your boss, and your significant other. Weed through all the options and present them with just a few.

The authors of Simplicity Marketing make the point that

“the next generation of positioning successes will belong to those brands that relieve customer stress.”

So there’s a significant opportunity in the future for people and companies who are able to simplify things. This applies not just to your company brand, but also to your personal brand.

This is one of the things we try to do here at Bigg Success. We try hard to sort through all the information out there and deliver to you those few things we’ve found to be the most important.

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Intuition – It’s Not Just For Women Anymore

We’ve all heard about women’s intuition. We’re told that women rely more on their feelings when they make decisions. They’re more emotional. But women certainly use logic to make decisions as well. Men reason more because they like to be able to prove their point. Supposedly, they’re more argumentative. But that doesn’t mean they don’t use their intuition.

We value logic today, perhaps to an extreme. Few people, except the most successful, will admit to using their gut instincts to make decisions. Once successful, people like Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump proudly proclaim that their hunches were partially responsible for their bigg success.

So, guys, it’s okay to admit that you use intuition. Don’t see it as a bad thing. Know when to use it and how.

Which type of decision-maker are you?
Gerd Gigerenzer, a social psychologist at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, recently wrote a book, Gut Feelings. He is a pioneer in research on intuition. He says there are two kinds of decision-makers:

  • “Maximizers” have to know all of the facts before they decide.
  • “Satisficers” only need to be “satisfied they have enough information to suffice” before they make a decision.

Gigerenzer’s research shows that you can often make better decisions with less information. Think of the time that saves you! But he does has skeptics within his field.

Sometimes the data lies
Steve McKee wrote an article recently for Business Week, entitled Beware the Advertising Pretest. He mentions a number of advertising campaigns that didn’t test well during market research. For example, if the advertisers hadn’t gone with their gut, against all the evidence, we never would have “Got Milk?”!

When should you satisfice?

  • The more familiar you are with the situation, the more likely you can satisfice.
  • The less the decision will significantly affect your life, the more likely you can satisfice.
  • Ask yourself, “Who is affected by my decision?” If the answer is “you”, then satisfice. If it involves others, you may want to err on the side of research.

Intuition and the magic 8-ball
Here’s a technique to try the next time you have a decision to make. Do all the analysis you want. Then frame a “yes” or “no” question. Shake your magic 8-ball (or flip a coin). How do you feel about the answer? That’s your intuition at work! This simple exercise helps you start to understand how your intuition plays in to your decision-making.

Our quote today is by Albert Einstein, considered one of most intelligent people ever.

“The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There
comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will,
the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.”

Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith.

Next time, we’ll revisit visualizing the life you want. We challenged you to answer the question, “If neither time nor money was an issue, how would you spend your time and your money?” We’re ready to take it to the next level – live your dream with a purpose.

Until then, here’s to your big success!

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Get Out Your Magic 8 Ball for Your Next Important Decision

By Bigg Success Staff
03-15-08

Life Skills

magic_8_ball

Use a magic 8 ball to make your next decision? Sounds preposterous!

But it works!

This is really a simple four-step process to help you when you’re having trouble making a decision. You’ve done all the research you need to do. Now it’s decision time. You know it, but somehow you just can’t decide. 

So get out your Magic 8 Ball and proceed:

Step 1: Frame your options into an either / or choice.

Step 2: Take one of the choices and turn it into a “Yes” / “No” question.

Step 3: Now see what your Magic 8 Ball says.

Step 4: How do you feel about the answer?

Are you glad to see the answer? Or are you surprised, perhaps even disappointed?

That’s your intuition talking to you.

Simply complex

This simple decision-making process is actually more complex than it seems. You’ve done your research. You’ve probably even formed an opinion.

Now you’re being required to frame your question in the simplest manner. That alone may have some benefits. It requires you to cut through all the clutter to get to the essence of the issue. Even if you don’t use the Magic 8 Ball, it’s a step in the right direction.

After you get your answer from the Magic 8 Ball, you see what your gut reaction is. Gut reactions, when backed by a reasonable amount of research, often prove to produce good results.

The primary thing is it moves your decision along, because once you have all the information you need, delaying your decision rarely helps.

Magic 8 Ball, is this a great decision-making tool?

Signs point to yes!

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