Good marketing starts with a clear approach to every project and having a good understanding how to make the right decision. We are presented with a seemingly infinite barrage of choices on a daily basis, everything from the mundane (should you order in Italian or Chinese) to the life-altering (which career path should you choose).

Making the correct choice is always important but how do we know which is the right choice? The art of making good decisions is something you need to master in order to find happiness and fulfilment both in your personal and work life. To help you on your way, here are five pointers to help you ensure you take the correct approach to the decision making process.

Be Careful not to Automatically Trust Everyone

Due to something called ‘False Consensus Theory’, humans often believe that other people would conduct themselves exactly as they would. So if you are an honest person, you may have the tendency to see the world through rose-tinted spectacles. Be careful not to assume that everyone is as trustworthy as you are; a healthy measure of scepticism can sometimes help prevent you from making a bad decision.

Treat Yourself to Small Rewards

There is one particular type of decision which is always notoriously tricky. This is where you have the choice to either invest in a short-term but lesser pay-off option or a long-term higher pay-off option. The short-term offer may be very alluring with the temptation for instant gratification even though it has a lower pay-off in the long run. In these circumstances it can often help you to make the long-term choice if you are able to manoeuvre some of pay-off up front, therefore still getting some of that immediate reward whilst still selecting the more sensible option.

Practice Forecasting the Future

Did you know that weather forecasters have an incredible knack for assessing and predicting risks and outcomes? It seems that the methodology they apply in their work also overflows into their day to day life as they constantly calculate probabilities when faced with decisions. If you can improve your ability for predicting the chances of different outcomes it will help you immeasurably when it comes to making good decisions.

Don’t be Afraid to Lose

Research has indicated that how we are performing can make us behave more cautiously or more recklessly depending on whether we perceive ourselves to be winning or losing. Interestingly, we are more likely to be focussed and careful when we think that we are winning, i.e. when the stakes have climbed higher. This is known as loss aversion and it is a cognitive bias that we should all be aware of to ensure it is not negatively affecting the way in which we make decisions.

Winning Streaks aren’t Real!

Sometimes it can feel like we are on a roll and can do no wrong. The odds just seem to be stacked in our favour. The winning streak fallacy can however, be a dangerous one. It can lead us to make reckless and risky decisions as we believe the streak will magically continue. Research by behavioural economists has indicated that we often place too much importance on long-term hot streaks whilst also underestimating short-term streaks. Never let superstitious factors such as lucky streaks let you influence your decisions.

Bearing these five tips in mind whenever you are faced with a choice is certain to help prevent you from making the wrong decision, whether it’s a trivial day to day choice or a crucial long-term decision.