A Simple Question Can Help You Make Better Decisions

What is the easiest way to get over the decision-making phase? Making a decision. Sounds so easy, right?

So many of us are often steeped in anxiety about what happens if we make the wrong decision somehow or if our decision is not suitable for us. This applies to the big problems in life and the little things, like picking what you want from a big menu. We all know the feeling, right? Looking at a restaurant’s menu and needing help figuring out what you want.

So many things look equally appealing, but what if they don’t do it right? What if you end up wasting money? What if other things are better?

This phase is known as analysis paralysis, and at the end of a long bout of conflict. You either make a decision that seems unsatisfactory now or no decision at all. In the quest to make the best decision, one just mentally exhausts themselves.

So what’s the solution? Many people assume that the way to get out of this rut is by making a quick decision. Ordering the first item you see. Or flip to a random menu page and order whatever you see first. Or just getting the usual.

It’s fine if you eat a club sandwich wherever you go. And yes, there might not be anything inherently wrong with that; you even ended up with a decision. Is there a way to make the process more efficient and conducive to better decision making than just jumping in? Try asking yourself this simple question to make better decisions.


Christopher Frank, VP of Market Insights at American Express, has discussed a question that will push you to make better decisions. The question he wants you to ask is, “What do I wish I knew?”

In essence, when Frank wants you to ask this question, he wants you to gain some clarity on the matter. You can determine what you need to know, perform an activity and decide based on that.

If we go back to our menu example, there are so many things you could ask that will make the decision clearer for you.


For example, if it weren’t too spicy or dry, you would order the seafood linguine. How do you figure that out? You could ask the waiter, check reviews online, and even give the chef special instructions to prepare it a certain way. There you go, you have a decision!


Will the decision be perfect? Not necessarily; you might still end up with sub-par food still.


If you practice this method repeatedly, you will likely perfect it at some point and be able to make decisions that have a higher chance of being in your favor. Ask yourself these questions whenever you believe you are stuck in a rut, and you will be able to get to the next step without being too nervous about it.