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Beware These 6 Pitfalls of Choice Decisions

Pitfalls abound when making multiple choice decisions. Beware the 6 listed below.

Multiple choice decisions that require you to pick one option from several generally have four phases:

  1. Gather options
    Determine your available options.
  2. Evaluate options
    Review & analyze your options.
  3. Pick an option
    Choose one from among your best options.
  4. Acquire your choice
    Do the steps necessary to acquire your choice. If your choice is no longer available, go back to previous steps.

The time between starting to gather options and acquiring your choice can be minutes to weeks, months or even years.


  1. Taking too long to pick an option
    When options might disappear while you are going through the phases, you run the risk of your final choice no longer being available. In competitive markets, the speed at which you evaluate & pick an option can be critical.
  2. Taking too long to acquire your choice
    Don’t stop once you’ve decided which option you want. Your decision isn’t done until you acquire your choice. And in competitive markets, taking too long can mean losing your choice and starting over.
  3. Acquiring your choice too quickly
    For important decisions in non-competitive markets, it can pay to delay. After making your choice, consider waiting to acquire it. If the option still makes sense later, you have increased confidence you’ve made the right choice. Otherwise, you can still change it.
  4. Evaluating one option at a time
    Try to compare options to each other and avoid making a series of yes/no decisions. When forced to decide on one option at a time, such as when buying a house in a competitive market, create baselines to evaluate each option against first.
  5. Having options gathered for you
    When others gather options for you, they may intentionally leave options out. Even the order of presentation can affect your decision. Ask if other options are available, and remember that not making a decision can be an option too.
  6. Ignoring how long it takes to acquire your choice
    Don’t think that once you’ve made your choice, the decision is done. Take into account the time required to acquire your choice. When buying online, take shipping time into account. When choosing a vendor, include setup time.

Be aware of the phases of your decisions, and learn how to work within them to make better decisions.

When you make a decision from multiple options, what pitfalls do you encounter?

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