I don’t know if you’re like me but I really, I mean REALLY, value my time. I don’t want to waste a single minute on decisions that won’t change my life in any meaningful way.
So here’s how I came up with a solution I’ve used for years to make meaningless decision:
About 7–8 years ago, I was trying to find a good place for dinner for a special occasion. I’m sure everyone has been through that. So after some research, I narrowed it down to two awesome options I could choose from.
But how to choose between them? They were both great, but what if one was greater? I could start listing the pros and cons of each options; or check the places in person to see which one had a better feel. Or read ALL the reviews online for each of them. But all of that is time consuming!
I opted for a solution that changed my life forever! It’s so simple yet I’ve never seen anyone else do it:
Just flip a coin!
There are times when you can’t make a decision. In your mind, both are great options. Around 50/50. So why debate in your mind, or with someone else?
Flip a coin!
Pasta or Burrito for tonight?
Flip a coin!
Should I buy this or not?
Flip a coin!
Mexico or Argentina?
Flip a damn coin!
Well, you get the point. However, there are very important things to note on this approach:
Limit yourself to using it on things that are meaningless.
I like to joke that I flipped a coin to decide to marry my wife or buy our condo in Montreal, but yeah, no, it wasn’t so. Some decisions really should be thought about!
Do it when you think both choices are very close to equal.
Things that, no matter the outcome, you would consider to be a good choice.
So now you’ve flipped the coin, what happens?
There are two approaches to that. I only use the first one, but feel free to use the second one too:
- You accept the decision and never look back. If it was part of the coin toss, it can’t be that bad. Who cares if the other option might end up having been better. You’ll never know anyway! As Michael Jordan has said, “Once I made a decision, I never thought about it again.”. I always choose this option. But here’s option #2 if you need it:
- The toss is done. You look at the result: “Aww damn it’s tails!”. Well, you got your answer! You really wanted heads. Just go for heads. I don’t personally like this approach since that means you used the coin toss when deep down, you didn’t think the choices were equal. But hey, if that helps you make meaningless decisions, do it!
But what about 55/45 decisions? Or 60/40?
I gotcha. That happens. Surprisingly not that often for me, but here’s an example that happened for me in Thailand:
I was wandering through the markets in Chiang Mai and found really cool Samurai pants! But it was double the price I was willing to pay (after bargaining), plus there was no way I would ever wear those outside of South East Asia. On paper, buying them seemed like a poor choice. But I liked them.
So for me, that was a 60/40 decision.
I couldn’t flip a coin.
Or could I?
Here’s what I came up with: For every 5% difference with 50%, flip an additional coin.
So with a 60/40 decision, that’s 2 additional coin toss. Meaning I would need 3 heads in a row to make the purchase.
First flip: Heads
Second flip: Heads!
I bought them. Awesome purchase. Never regretted it. And if I did, well, it wasn’t my decision anyway haha!
So there you have it! Whenever you need to make meaningless decisions and end up spending WAY TOO MUCH time trying to make it, just flip a coin! You’ll thank me and the coin later!
Just promise me not to choose your wife/husband or house that way!
For those like me who don’t carry cash, there are plenty of apps for that both on iOS and Android.
Thanks for reading! :)
First published here: https://medium.com/@danny_forest/how-i-use-luck-to-make-meaningless-decisions-and-focus-on-what-matters-2b2c6e18d4fb