In the book Decisive the Heath brothers lay out a scientific, four-step process for making better decisions in your life and work, based on a thorough review of the literature and research on the subject. They've developed a four-step procedure called WRAP that you may use every time you have to make a major, critical decision to help you make better decisions. It consists of four components:
1. Widen your options
2. Reality-test your assumptions
3. Attain distance before deciding
4. Prepare to be wrong.
Decisions aren't always black-and-white. Always consider the consequences of missed opportunities. Making judgments like this has the disadvantage of being a binary approach. You simply have two choices: yes or no. However, you must also consider opportunity costs to obtain the complete picture. There are a lot more possibilities, most of which begin with “no, but...” How many times in school has this happened to you? Someone starts talking about a Friday party on Wednesday, and by Thursday, everyone, including you, has been invited. Now it's up to you to make a decision. Interestingly, we often end up having to answer some variation of this issue when making decisions like these: Should I attend Jake's party - or not? It's not so much a question of whether you should go or not; it's about what else you could accomplish with that time. Even just being aware that you have the option of doing anything else with your time and money will help you understand the bigger picture of your options.
Make no preparations. Experiment with different things to see what sticks. This won't work for Jake's party, but in many cases, you don't have to make a decision right away. You may simply run a series of tests to find which option works best. You don't have to quit your work right away if you think you want to be a writer. You may simply begin writing a blog to see if you enjoy it. The Heath brothers term this small-scale testing ooching, and it truly helps you feel more at ease when making significant changes. Internships, for example, are ideal for this. First, find a means to dip your toe into the water, then make a decision.
To be more objective, change your perspective to that of a friend or the future. Getting some distance is the third phase in the WRAP model. What difference does it make? Your emotions, on the other hand, have a tendency to hijack a lot of your decisions, based on what you believe is most essential right now. However, what you think is most important today may not be what you need in ten years. That's why, before making a decision, it's a good idea to put some emotional distance between yourself and the decision. Using the number ten as an example, try the 10/10/10-perspective: How would you feel about your choice in ten minutes, ten months, and ten years? Another amazing method is to put yourself in the shoes of a buddy and give advice. We are often able to provide far more objective counsel to our friends since we are not distracted by the short-term emotions they are experiencing at the time. Do the same for yourself, and you'll be much happier in the future!