There are only two things that determine how your life turns out: luck and the quality of your decisions.

In life like in business, you have control over only one of those two things: luck and the quality of your decisions. When you make better-quality decisions, you increase the chances that good things will happen to you.

The most useful way to think about a decision is that it is a prediction of the future. To make good decisions, you have to understand your goals and values, which will inform your preferences for various outcomes. A goal could be general, but it is always helpful to define specific goals.

The next step is to measure the potential payoffs, looking at how an outcome affects your progress toward or away from a goal. Decisions could have potential upsides or downsides, and most have a mix of both. When making your decision, ask yourself if the potential upside outweighs the risk of the downside.

The final step is determining how likely each outcome is to occur. To figure out if a decision is good or bad, estimate each of the probabilities. With each decisions, there is a certain amount of skill that goes into it as well as a matter of luck: outcomes do not come with any kind of guarantee. To make a decision, think about what you have control over and keep a better eye on things that are more likely to occur.

Making better decisions involves shifting your mindset. In the end, decisions are educated guesses. By combining preferences, payoffs, and probabilities, you can think in a more useful way about what the future might hold, and improve the quality of the decisions you make.

Michel Ouellette JMD, ll.l., ll.m

Systemic Strategic Planning / Crisis & Reputation Management

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