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Chapter 11. Decision-Making The Root of ... > Why Decisions Are So Hard to Make - Pg. 110

Decision-Making The Root of All Action 110 Too Many Choices and Too Much Information Think about any purchase you might need to make: a car, a telephone, a piece of furniture, or anything at all. No matter what the item is, you probably have more products to choose from and more consumer information at your fingertips than at any time in history. You can go onto the Internet and most likely call up hundreds of thousands of references to the product in question. There are Web sites that want to sell you the product, sites that warn you about the brands not to buy, sites with objective consumer information about several of your choices, and bulletin boards or chat rooms where people are ranting and raving about the product at this very moment. It can all be more than a little overwhelming, particularly if you're the type of person who finds that even just one issue of Consumer Reports contains more information than you can handle. The fact that you can get not only every back issue of that magazine online but millions of other resources as well is no doubt mind boggling. This abundance is also overwhelming for those other people who believe that you can't have too much information before making a decision and who enjoy the research process a little too much. They might wander off into research never-never land and not come back to make the decision they set out to make. Not Enough Choices, Time, or Money Sometimes tough decision-making is not a matter of too much, but too little. You might, for example, experience decisions that are difficult because you don't have enough good options to choose from. Take the case of someone who wants to go back to school, but must do so close to home due to family or work obligations. What happens if the only colleges close by aren't particularly strong in the field that person wants to study? The decision becomes one of opting for what's second best or third best, rather than what's ideal. When the choices are no great shakes, the decision is not an easy one to make. Action Tactic Think of at least one good decision you've made in the past. Why did it turn out so well? What can you do to repeat the same success with a decision you currently need to make? Making matters worse is the fact that so many decisions come with a deadline. If you don't choose X, Y, or Z by such and such a date and time, you'll miss out on the chance of a lifetime: a great bargain, your ticket to success, or some other lifechanging opportunity. Sometimes, the time dead- lines are just comeons by salespeople or are selfimposed and therefore controllable. Often, how- ever, they are all too real and put such pressure on us that we can't imagine how we'll ever wade through all the choices to get to the right one in time. Money is an additional factor that can have an impact on decisions. If your financial resources are limited when a purchase or investment is required, then the pressure to make the best decision becomes exacerbated.