Think twice!

10 valuable decision-making tips and an acronym that ties them together, all in one! These are from Fortune magazine, via Water Cooler Wisdom:

  1. Take the Global View. Always keep an eye on where you’re headed. Don’t lose the big picture.
  2. Hope for the Best – But Plan for the Worst. Having a plan for the worst case scenario can help keep you from panicking. (I call this “the realist’s creed.”)
  3. Investigate, then Invest. Get the facts; count the costs, in whatever form they may take. Don’t jump in without knowing what you’re getting into.
  4. Never Say Always. Leave room for error. The only predictable thing is the unpredictable, so expect the unexpected.
  5. Know What You Don’t Know. Don’t assume you know it all; keep an open mind. At the very least, know what you can’t control.
  6. The Past Is Not a Prologue. Things tend to move in cycles. (That’s the infamous “past performance is not predictive of future results” disclaimer; again, expect the unexpected.)
  7. Weigh What They Say. Know where your information is coming from. Consider the source.
  8. If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is. There’s no such thing as a free lunch. (You can’t get something for nothing. Cliches may be tired, but most of them still have a kernel of truth.)
  9. Costs Are Killers. Keep an eye on the details. The little things can make the difference. It’s not just the destination – it’s the route you take to get there.
  10. Eggs Go Splat. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Don’t burn your bridges or pin all your hopes on one solution. Have a back-up. After all, you never know…

Granted, there are some redundancies here, no doubt to serve the acronym, and nothing especially groundbreaking. All the same, these nuggets are useful to keep in mind, regardless of where you fall on the optimist-realist-pessimist spectrum. And while they’re presented in the context of an investment-advice guide, they’re applicable to any situation where “thinking twice” would be worthwhile – which is pretty much any situation or decision, period. If you’re looking for some New Year’s resolutions, I think these ten are pretty good, either on their own as tools for shaping your perspective, or as support for any of the more concrete, specific ones you’ve got in mind.

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