Homemade Recipes For Making A Choice

 A rule of thumb is an easy to remember guide that falls somewhere

between a mathematical formula and a shot in the dark. Tom Parker

 This blog describes the role of decision rules of thumb (sometimes called shortcuts or heuristics) in my philosophy of “creative decision making using positive uncertainty”. When I first started studying decision making (over 50 years ago), authoritative decision rules were totally rational, statistical, scientific formulas. Since then we have discovered the versatility of the left/right brain, accepted intuition as real, and realized that making a totally rational decision is usually not possible.

Rules of thumb were first used to make up for the lack of facts. Today we need rules of thumb because of too many facts — which can be problematic making a decision. You almost never can process all the facts or even obtain all the facts. In decision making, sometimes you don’t have time or the ability to discover the best way to do something. Or there may not be a best way. This is when you need a homemade receipt or an easy to remember guide. Enter my decision rules of thumb.

I have presented many decision strategies, methods, techniques and guidelines over the years. Following are ten that might be considered rules of thumb. They may not be supported by scientific research or approved by the American Psychological Association but each is to be considered a homemade recipe or shortcut for making a choice that is more than a shot in the dark.

H B ‘s Decision Rules of Thumb

Do you have a personal rule of thumb to share?

  • Facts are food for thought but not the whole meal.
  • Don’t think outside the box; think without the box.
  • Use goals to guide you, not govern you.
  • You can’t know yourself by yourself.
  • Become as capable of change as the environment.
  • Know what you want, but don’t be sure.
  • Keep your mind’s eye on what you don’t see.
  • You can’t grow clinging to the status quo.
  • The way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.
  • Changing your view changes you.

Rules of thumb are a tool. They help you appraise a problem or situation.

They give you a feel for the subject.   Tom Parker

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  1. Gene Unger says:

    Nice work H! Be sure to only use the thumb for rules. Other fingers present problems. Pointer finger, accuses others. Middle finger , insulting! Ring finger, marriage finger, should be taken with great consideration, little finger, Pinky finger, not taken seriously. So , you have very interesting suggestions for our thumb rules. Well done friend!

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Isabelle Leon says:

    Beware of the false security of “objectivity”.

    Sent from my iPad


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