You have only yourself to blame for the quality of your decisions. Improve it. Start today.

Are you committed to becoming a spot-on decision-maker who can make great decisions that actually guide your world? Because chances are, your personal decision-making process is no guarantee of that.

We’ve just finished two years of hate-filled, vitriolic lies and attacks. Most of us were swayed, one way or another, by the election rhetoric and talking heads. One thing is certain: few of us went to the candidates web sites, read their platforms and policies. Even fewer then consulted a range of economists, industry professionals, and others to figure out whether the policies were realistic, whether we have any data on that kind of policy, or whether they would even lead to the kind of world we want.

Pretty much all of us relied mainly on charisma (or lack thereof) and ideology (or lack thereof) and knee-jerk logic to make our decision. And yes, this means you, my above-average-intelligence friends! Intelligent people seem to believe that they understand things better, even though when it comes to politics, there’s no reason to believe that. Smarts are no defense against relying on shallow, biased media reports and cherry-picked statistics.

The challenge: improve your decision making!

Here’s my challenge to you: actually learn from this experience.

Whether you’re feeling fear, anger, hope, or happiness today, grab a piece of paper. Write down all your fears. ALL of them. If you are convinced our President-elect is a terrorist whose greatest desire is to bring down America, write that down. If you’re convinced he’ll raised your taxes, write that down. If you’re convinced that taxes a worse financing decision than debt when you’re running a deficit, write that down, too.

If you believe that America will become a hotbed of corrupt moral practices, write that down.

Now write down your hopes. If you believe we will magically become debt-free in an economic prosperity paradise brought on by a single change in President, write that down. If you believe that America will become a multicultural paradise of acceptance and love, put it on paper.

For both your fears and your hopes, jot down the basis (or lack thereof) you have for those beliefs. You are the ONLY ONE who will see this, so be honest. Expect to have fairly little evidence for any of this.

You know now what you’re projecting on this candidate, good or bad. You could be wrong about a lot of what you’ve written. In fact, you probably are. And you’ve done this with every election you’ve ever voted in.

Now is the time to learn, instead.

Arrange to re-evaluate your decision-making in 2012

Head over to TimeCave.com, and schedule an e-mail to yourself to be delivered in July, 2012. Type in everything you’ve written. Also paste in the following debrief form. Then in 2012, you may be able to make an even higher-quality decision than you did this year.

1. Where was I right in my ability to project the candidate’s results?
2. Where I was right, how much of that was due to the candidate’s efforts, and how much of that was external factors that the candidate couldn’t control?
3. Where was I wrong?
4. How much of *that* was under the candidate’s control?
5. Where did I get my information about the candidate?
6. Am I using the same or different sources this time?
7. Do I know how high-quality the sources are? Why do I believe they are high (or low) quality?

When you receive the email in 2012, spend some time thinking through the questions. You may discover that your fears were misplaced. The world didn’t come to an end. You may discover that your hope was a bit overblown. The world didn’t become paradise.

Either way, you’ll discover that you can find ways to improve your decision-making in 2012. That’s a good thing. You will begin to be more nuanced and more thoughtful in your vote, which is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make.

And why not start now? Campaign 2012 starts in about three weeks…

Nightmare or Hope? Your decision.

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