Lately I've been reading One Click: Jeff Bezos and the rise of Amazon.com, a book about Jeff Bezos and how Amazon came to be the internet giant that it is today. I'm still at the chapter 5/17, but what I found most curious so far is the fact that every time Bezos made a decision, not only about the business but also about his personal life, he took an incredibly analytic approach and studied all the possible outcomes and aspects that may influence the result.
One of the ways in which this manifested was through what he called the "Regret Minimization Framework". Basically, it's a tool that helped him choose between a set of options by analyzing which one will be the one that he may regret less in the future. In the book, it's presented when he had to choose between continue working on his (really) high-paid job in a financial software company, or leaving it and start an Internet business.
"I knew that when I was eighty there was no chance that I would regret walking away from my 1994 Wall Street bonus in the middle of the year. I wouldn't even have remembered that. But I did think there was a chance that I might regret significantly not participating in this thing called the Internet, that I believed passionately in. I also knew that if I had tried and failed, I wouldn't regret that"
I've had to make a big personal decision myself lately (switching to a new job and moving to another country, or continue at a job that still was a really good opportunity), and even if I didn't named it that way the "regret minimization" was definitely the most important factor that influenced my decision. If you think of it, it's probably the best way to make a decision because it forces you to think not only on the instant gratification that you will get from each option, but also on its long-term consequences.
A detail that may seem insignificant but that for me it's one of the most important parts of the framework is how he considered both the good and the bad outcome. In the end, it's obvious that things will not always go as expected, and making sure that you won't regret a specific decision even if it goes completely wrong is probably one of the factors that you need to consider the most when you make the choice.
Decision-making is the skill that will have the biggest impact in your life, and having a clear set of steps to follow during the process will undoubtedly help you get the best outcome from it. Are you comfortable to make that decision now, even considering that things may go wrong? Will you be able to change to another option if you think better about it in the future, and will there be any consequences? And, most importantly: will you be able to accept that decision 10, 20 or even 50 years from now?