The pitfalls of analysis paralysis
My wife and I play a game where we each pick 3 movies we would be down to watch, put them on a numbered list, then roll a die. It's kind of silly, but it actually helps a lot making decisions.
Sometimes the length of time spent making the decision can be part of the enjoyment of whatever is chosen. My son and I have planned three trips for every one we've taken and we both have tremendous fun in the planning and debating process.
Visiting various colleges with your children is another example where the effort significantly overshoots the expected differences in outcome, but, again, the process is valuable in itself.
Both my examples are as a parent of now adult children (who I think are older than you are!). So, maybe there's a general "process" exception to parent/child decision making. Probably also for engaged or married couples.
Good post in that you made me think!
I liked this piece because it confirms my long standing belief that hard life decisions really should be that hard because you are basically weighing two roughly equal expected outcomes. The decision its itself is far less important than what you do once the decision is made. I am talking about decisions like what job to take, who to marry and where to go to college.
Now, there can be exceptions: if the time spent making the decision is really spent casting aside illusions about what kind of person you are or someone else is, then it is probably time well spent.
There are times when spending a long time on a decision will have a significant impact on the outcome. For example, many products on Amazon seem equally good on the surface, however, only after reading the reviews and watching Youtube videos about those products one could discover what that product is really like.
This is something i've had problems with, so it makes a lot of sense to me. Especially with vacations, i'll think and procrastinate for way too long, and I think it is BECAUSE they all seem like good options. So it's like man I really want to maximize what I can do and not pick the less good option. But I can see that it probably isn't worth spending so much time on such decisions. In general it seems like it's better to try things and learn from mistakes, rather than paralysis by analysis as you say.
This also seems like it could have some parallels to things Jordan Peterson has discussed, about how much of a difference there is between someone who is in the 99th percentile versus 99.9. What a massive difference that is. Or with sports, the difference between say Lebron or MJ compared to someone who is just an all-star.
I like restaurant menus with fewer choices! I can’t stand reading a book before dinner : )
Decisiveness = impetuosity. We distinguish based on results, which are affected by chance?
I would be very wary of extrapolating the findings of those studies to any real-life decision making. Sure, I take a second longer to choose between a roughly equal amounts of dots in a study where I feel the need to perform well. That doesn't mean I deliberate too long on life questions.
And I don't share your intuition that it's necessarily irrational to take a little longer on roughly equal options. I can tell you in a heartbeat if I prefer to read 1984 or The Little Firetruck that Could, but I would take a few moments more to choose between 1984 and The Lord of the Rings. Both will give me enjoyment, but they are still quite different experiences. One is considerably longer than the other, for instance. It makes sense to introspect a little about what fits most into my life right now.