The Secret to Making Good Decisions

On the way to a successful career, decisions have to be made, some of which will prove critical. One good decision can have positive repercussions for years, but so can one bad decision. Where decision-making is studied - mostly at business schools and departments of government - there's a kind of pseudo-science that has developed, in which the human element (subjectivity) is reduced as much as possible so that the rational element (objectivity) can dominate.

This tactic ignores the fact that all decisions are human - there's no machine to make them for us - and history tells us that the greatest decision always involved a combination of human genius, passion, determination, and foibles. Emotions flared, for good and ill. In fact, when you read history, you become more and more fascinated by the human drama that unfolds - you might even say that history is nothing but drama.

But what does this mean for you and the decisions you must make? It means that if you want to make good decisions, you must plunge in and make them with full awareness of the human situation. If instead you try to reduce every big decision to a dry, rational computation, you will shut out the very things that go into a good decision.

So, what makes a good decision good? There are four human elements.

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