Can’t Make a Decision? Use These Nine Words.

We’ve all faced dilemmas like the following:

  • Go out for the evening or stay home and watch a movie
  • Buy something now or wait until it goes on sale
  • Read Borden’s Blather or the IRS Tax Code

I know, the last one is obvious. You keep a copy of the tax code on your nightstand for that exact reason.

But for those tougher choices, Dan Pink uses a simple decision-making tool.

This approach recognizes that we are good at solving problems, except our own. When we confront our own issues, we are too immersed in the details.

We need to step back and see the big picture.

The solution is nine simple words, in the form of a question:

What would you tell your best friend to do?

So go ahead and give it a try.

Tell your best friend to read the past seven years of Borden’s Blather.

It’s a sure way to ensure the two of you will never speak again…

*image from Borden’s Blather

85 thoughts on “Can’t Make a Decision? Use These Nine Words.

  1. I finished reading the tax code so had to read your blog. πŸ™‚

    But Dan is right. That question can really work. I have used it before in asking a friend the advice she would give to a friend in her exact same situation and she answered without hesitation. Then it was like Oooh….. as it sank in what she had said.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. maybe you can start reading another country’s tax code.

      and thanks for sharing that personal anecdote that shows that this approach can be useful!


  2. Generally, the sort of advice I ask for is always worded as, “I’m asking for a friend.” So in some sort of way, I think I’ve always been using this approach.

    And weren’t you the one who wrote the tax code?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I think that only works if you have credibility. I am not used to friends taking my advice or even asking for it. This leads to the question of whether I should trust what I may tell them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was thinking the same thing. plus it depends what kind of relationship you have with your best friend. If you like to pull pranks on each other, this approach could lead to some questionable choices…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Yohh! Decision making is difficult for most of people and is something we practice on daily basis but still don’t get it right. People need to learn listening to their instincts because mostly they never wrong.

    Liked by 2 people

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