Accurately Recognizing the Alternatives
Recognizing that a decision is at hand is not all there is to it. We also must recognize what our alternatives are. Here, many decisions go awry because of failure to accurately identify the alternatives. This failure comes in two forms: 1) thinking that something is an alternative when it is not (thinking unrealistically), and 2) failing to recognize an alternative (thinking too narrowly).
Among the common decisions in the first category of failure are decisions that follow from the following types of thinking:
The second category of failure (thinking too narrowly) is difficult to correct, as no one believes he is thinking too narrowly (when he is). Actually, the more narrow the thinker, the more confident the thinker that he is broad-minded. A good rule of thumb is that if you can think of only one or two options when making a decision, you probably are thinking too narrowly.
We have found the following twofold rule to be useful:
Let's now look at the process of becoming a more skilled decision-maker, in the light of what we have considered thus far.