• Carol Delisi

Ask the Right Questions to Make Better Decisions

In today's world of information overload, unlimited sources of information and so many options available to us, making any decision, let alone the "right" decision can be very difficult.

Warren Berger in The Book of Beautiful Questions, gives a variety of questions to help us make better decisions, by understanding our biases and our mindsets.

The first question comes from Julia Galef, from the Center for Applied Rationality. Thinking about mindset, when you need to question your thought process on something, are you a "soldier" or a "scout"?

A soldier's job is to defend and protect. If you are defending and protecting your thought process or line of thinking you are probably doing it automatically, as parts of our brains are hard-wired for fight or flight. If something you believe is being challenged, you might automatically fight for it.

The scout's job is to be curious and explore. By engaging the thinking part of our brain, we can ask questions about why we think in a certain way. But this takes courage and humility about our way of thinking.

Why would we want to do do this? To make better, more informed decisions. To open up possibilities where there were none before. To learn and grow in a way we never could, if we always think we are right and defend our thinking.

A few questions to get you started from The Book of Beautiful Questions:

  • What am I inclined to believe (on a particular issue or subject)?

  • Why do I believe what I believe?

  • What would I like to be true?

  • What if the opposite were true?

  • Would I rather be right, or would I rather understand?

Try these questions with a team in making decisions or in problem-solving. The phrase "think outside the box" is often over-used and under-explained. These are some questions that get us outside the "box" of our every day thinking so we can discover and learn.