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Expand Your Options

Welcome to my blog on making better decisions with
practical simple, scientifically backed ways to take control
of your life. I want to take time to thank you for tuning in,
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Let’s talk today about expanding your options. Chip and
Dan Heath are brothers, university researchers, authors of
four books and corporate consultants. I find their ideas
easily applicable in daily life. In their book Decisive, they
explain how teenagers are prone to narrowing their
options. They see only a sliver of the spectrum of options
before them. Interestingly, large organizations are much
the same as teens when deciding. Corporations can ask
narrowing questions, like “is this the right price for this
deal”. Before asking, “should we even make this deal”.
“Whether or not” decisions fail 52% of the time in
corporate life versus choosing between 2 or more
alternatives succeeds 68%.

Simply put… we often do not recognize that we are
framing our current decision in a narrow frame. Open up
the options and think about what you may be giving up bybuying an upgrade. For example, if you’re buying a new
car and purchase the upgrades, you could have taken
your family on vacation and purchased the entry model.
This is called an opportunity cost. By buying one option,
we are saying no to other options; so consider all the
options. What else could we do with the same time and

So, why do we get so stuck on our current options? We
only think about our current circumstances; other options
are out of our view. How do we expand our perspective?

Try the Vanishing Options Test. Imagine that Aladdin’s
genie has a brother who removes options from life. For
example, consider an executive who determines that the
company receptionist is shy and socially withdrawn which
adversely affects the immediate greeting that customers
receive when they enter the building. However, due to
required labour standards, the executive cannot simply
fire the receptionist. If firing her has vanished as an
option, what are the other options? The executive
determined that the company had student-study workers
who could assume that responsibility for a fraction of the
cost of the receptionist. Not only was this a financially
viable option but also it allowed youthful staff to invigorate
the front door ambiance. “Necessity is the mother of
invention”. It’s only when the spotlight of our attention is
moved from the ONE area, we are free to roam the horizon for divergent options, ones that we would not
have considered.

It is easy to spot a narrow frame of decision making. A
“whether or not” decision should set off warn bells as a
decision advisor.

As we practice making better decisions each day, giving
yourself two or three options. Give yourself a thinking
break for a moment and let your mind calm. Now, take on
your day!

This content is for educational purposes only not medical

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