Sunday, June 27, 2021

How to make a choice. How to take a decision.


Often stress is caused by overwhelming of tasks. It is difficult to prioritize them, it is difficult to resolve them simultaneously. They attack us like a pride of predators, biting from multiple sides.

Or, we could have a one task with multiple choices. And it is difficult to choose the right one. We are afraid to make a mistake. What should we do then?

Whatever solution we take, it is always convenient to structure mind by documenting everything in the spreadsheet or mind map.

Possible solutions

"Minimax" strategy

In mathematics, there is a thing called game theory. It is used in computer algorithms when our electronic enemies in Starcraft make their decisions. 

"Minimax" is for minimizing maximum loss. First we define a maximum possible loss for every problem if it is not resolved timely. Then we sort problems by this maximum loss in descending order. Then we concentrate on the first one (with the greatest loss possible).

E. g. we see simultaneously falling from the table down to the floor the following:

- a bottle of milk

- a spoon

- a little baby

Which one would we catch first, letting others to break down on the floor?

What could happen in the worst case scenario? Let's make a choice with the less harm in case of worst scenario.

MiniMax is a mathematical term from so called games theory. When having multiple choices, each of them has possible loss ("minimum"). So we merely minimize the risk by choosing "maximum of minimums", taking the option with less harmful loss.


Opposite to minimax. Instead of minimizing losses, we maximize outcomes.


What our God tells to us? Do not neglect intuition - sometimes it is the only instrument we have.

Option for return

If the choice is wrong, is there way to return back? Is this expensive? If we can easily return, it makes sense to make an attempt.

Make the first step and wait

Often the way is unpredictable and step on a road depend on the other factors. There is no need to spend time on thinking about every step if some of them could become redundant.

E. g. the problem is the car won't start. And we don't know the certain reason behind that. The process is we check possible failures step by step. First, we check whether battery is dead: try to start the car with the jump starter. If the reason is battery, we will lose our time thinking beforehand about all the other failure.

Visualize every option

For every choice, just imagine we already made it happened. Do we like it?

Exclude components (what if?)

If we think too much about that some factor is an obstacle to make a choice... What if there would not be such factor at all? Would we make a choice or not?

Say we don't want to move to another country because language barrier seems like an obstacle for this move. What would be if we would know such language perfectly? Would we move to this country immediately or there is some other reason preventing us from making this choice?

Count long term perspective

Preferable is the option resulting in long term dividends. It is better for me to study engineering at school rather than say cooking skills. In the future, robots constructed by engineers will cook food for us. Though for someone else cooking can bring long term benefits.

What would my favorite super hero do if he would be me? 

Or my favorite politician? Or any other person I respect much? 

Minimize regrets by your 80s

What would I regret about when I am in my 80s?

Give it a time

Wait - maybe the solution will come later. The more we wait the more information we have. Today we might not be willing to do the same as yesterday. Thus, if we have a recurring reminder in our mind for a long period of time - maybe it's time to do it.

Review the list of all the possible outcomes 


Collect information 

Google, ask for an advice etc

Go to your fear

People say, huge resource is there. Even if the decision is eventually wrong, huge learning is here.

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