Decisions: The Basis of Success and Failure in Internet Marketing…and Life!

by John Zajaros on December 10, 2009

Undergoing MyBlogLog Verification

Making Decisions and Success: The Single-Most Important Step You Should Make in the Decision Making Process!

We make hundreds of decisions a day, everything from when to get up in the morning to when to go to bed; and, to reduce this to the ridiculous, we even decide when to close our eyes and go to sleep! Everything we do in the course of our lives involves a decision making process, conscious or unconscious…and some would add subconscious to this.

So, how do we train ourselves to make the best decision possible in each and every instance?

Well, some people would say we can’t, that there are simply too many decisions in our lives to monitor and direct the implementation of each and every one, and they’d be right…sort of!

“Sort of!” being a technical phrase only used by the most precise and discerning of scientists and statisticians…and a few bloggers with too many ransom thoughts of their own to deal with. And that’s another decision: Which ones to share with others?

The fact is, we cannot hope to make every decision made on our behalf by our brain during the course of a day, we turn it over to our mind, our collective consciousness, or our subconscious. We also trust our experience in such matters, and this is a good and a not-so-good thing, because experiences can be deceiving.

Experiences are shaped by our perceptions which are shaped by past events and our responses and decisions to those events. That’s not a scientific definition, that’s my own. This is the scientific one:

Experience as a general concept or construct includes knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event. The history of the word experience aligns it closely with the concept of experiment….The concept of experience generally refers to know-how or procedural knowledge, rather than propositional knowledge. Philosophers dub knowledge based on experience “empirical knowledge” or “a posteriori knowledge”. (Source: Wikipedia).

Keep in mind that even this definition is based on someone’s experience, in fact it is contributed by an individual, or the collective experience of a group of people, as is referenced by the philosophers’ take on the definition and application of experience.

The essence of decision making, its foundation, is rooted in experience, whether good or bad, correct or incorrect, right or wrong. As we seek to make decisions concerning issues or situations we are unfamiliar with we seek out information, either directly, as in word-of-mouth, first hand experience of others or through information and experience passed down from others and progressively reshaped and reformed by the experiences of each individual in the chain. The problem with the former arises when the person consulted is wrong or has faulty information and is not in a position to be an authority. The issue with the latter is one of misperception, second-hand knowledge, and the bias that comes along with it, and error through misapplication or misunderstanding. In other words, in either event, the experience you draw upon to make a decision, if it is not your own, and even if it is, may be faulty and inaccurate…thus leading to erroneous decisions.

So how do we avoid making error after error in our daily lives, particularly when it comes to the really big decisions?

Part of the answer rests in our own trial and error experience. we usually stumble upon either the correct response or at least one that is acceptable over time; again, our experience. The difference between being good enough and being an expert may be significant enough that good enough is acceptable for many tasks and applications. However, for those tasks that require a correct response, when good enough simply won’t do, what do we do then?

Well, when it has to be right, when we are starting something that matters to us and/or others and we must get it right? We usually call on a trusted authority for help, generally someone we know, like, and trust. But who qualifies as a trusted authority, number one? And, if we don’t know of one, how do we establish whether or not someone has the reputation, and the street credit, the business sense or the personal integrity, to have faith in and for us to put our trust in them and their experience?

This is often done on what is called blind faith! Often, if we choose correctly, we get a combination of two phrases that have grown out of such expressions of trust over time:

Blind faith! and Blind, or dumb, luck!

Really, why?

Think about it!

In most instances we place our complete trust and faith in someone else’s experience and how they’ve shaped their decision-making which is based on experiences unique to them, their lives and their personal experiences, not yours. So, if you aren’t dealing in something that is exactly and appropriately applicable, the decision may be based in incorrect or misapplied data, theirs not yours!

How do we rectify this? How do we resolve this without going through life blindly following experts with experiences that simply don’t translate well, if at all, to your situation?

Three words: Know, like, and trust!

But is that enough?

No!

There is another ingredient and it takes us full circle back to our decision-making process:

Experience!

But how do we get experience with someone to base our experience with that someone?

Here we have what Yul Brenner, The King in The King and I, would call a puzzlement!

Like every other experience and every decision we make on autopilot every day, it is done incrementally. Or, as Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus would have said in What About Bob?

Baby steps!

We give people a little bit of our trust and we incrementally allow them a little more and a little more until we “trust them!” And, their judgement!
This is how we learn absolutely everything from crawling and walking to talking and speaking a foreign language…incrementally. We also allow others into our lives and allow them to shape our decision-making incrementally. To do otherwise is folly!

And yet, we do just this every day on the Internet, in our businesses, with our money, with our very lives. We turn over the reins to others on basically nothing more than a say-so, our gut, because it feels right, instinct! This is incongruent and flies in the face of everything we have learned, everything we know. It is contrary to sound knowledge and our own experience! And yet, it happens time and again!

I often hear things like:

“Well, he had a great presentation.”

“Jim is going with it and he is almost never wrong.” (almost!)

“I’ve been reading their material for weeks now and it feels right!”

Or the best one of all:

“What do I have to lose? It seems like a no-brainer!”

Decisions, experience, and the antithesis:

Impulse!

Marketers thrive on it, they live for it, they feed on it, they depend on it!

Experience and well-thought-out decision making:

The antithesis of impulse and the real secret to prosperous living!

This is incomplete! The fact is, I could go on for days. But if you take away anything from thins I hope that it will be the following:

Only base decisions on sound experience, either yours or that of someone you know, like, and trust. Additionally, make sure it is someone who has earned your trust incrementally and over time! Be wary of anything that happens quickly, depends on a deadline, a limited supply, or anyone who insists on your trust before you are ready to give it.

Never do anything unless it can be done incrementally, and then test, test, and test!

No matter how good the deal and no matter how great the price, there will be another offer along in 5 minutes, so never jump at scarcity and a deadline!

If it can’t wait, it can…permanently!

Whatever goes around comes around and if an offer is that good, it will be just as good next week, next month or next year…or you can do without it! Trust no one that tells you anything different! If someone has a quality product and is part of a reputable firm, they will withstand scrutiny and they will offer their wares on a continuous basis. The rest is flash and it is designed to rid you of one thing…your cash!

This started as a blog about decisions and experience, it grew outside the framework of my outline into something even more important, something that affects all of us in one way or another: Impulse!

Once again, impulse is the enemy of experience and flies in the face of sound decision-making!

If you are pressed into a decision and you don’t have all the facts. If you are pressed into a decision and you lack the experience to make a sound evaluation and decision. If you are pressed to making a decision and you lack the experience; and, you don’t have access to someone you know, like, and trust, and has been a confidant over time, pass!

Experience is a great teacher!

Unfortunately, bad experiences are the best teacher!

Make sound decisions based on the above and avoid impulsivity and you you will prosper!

John

Professor John P. J. Zajaros, Sr.
216-712-6526 (home)
216-539-7412 (bus)
Skype: johnzajaros1
johnz@johnzajaros.com

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