Making decisions is a fundamental aspect of our daily lives. From simple choices, such as what to wear or eat, to complex ones, such as which job to take or who to marry, we face countless decisions that can shape our future. However, not all decisions are good or easy to make. Sometimes, we have to make "bad" decisions, i.e., those that involve trade-offs, uncertainties, risks, or conflicts of values. While it's tempting to avoid or delay such decisions, doing so can also have consequences. Therefore, in this article, we will explore some ways to make good "bad" decisions, based on research and experience.

  1. Define your decision context

Before you can make a good "bad" decision, you need to understand what you're deciding and why it matters. Start by clarifying the scope, purpose, and criteria of your decision. For example, if you're deciding whether to invest in a new business venture, you should define what the venture is, how much money and time it requires, what are the potential benefits and risks, and what are your personal and professional goals. By doing so, you can avoid vague or irrelevant factors that can cloud your judgment or distract you from your priorities.

  1. Gather relevant information

To make a good "bad" decision, you need to have as much information as possible about the options, outcomes, and constraints involved. However, you don't need to have all the information, nor can you wait until you do. Instead, focus on gathering the most relevant and reliable information that you can access in a reasonable time and effort. This may involve researching online, consulting experts or mentors, asking for feedback or opinions from trusted sources, or testing your assumptions through experimentation or simulation. Be aware of biases or blind spots that may affect your perception or interpretation of the information.

  1. Identify your decision biases

Even if you have defined your decision context and gathered relevant information, you may still have biases that can influence your judgment or reasoning. Some common biases that can affect "bad" decisions are:

  • Confirmation bias: the tendency to seek or interpret information in a way that confirms your preconceived beliefs or preferences.
  • Overconfidence bias: the tendency to overestimate your abilities or the likelihood of positive outcomes.
  • Loss aversion bias: the tendency to avoid losses more than to seek gains, leading to risk aversion or irrational risk-taking.
  • Framing bias: the tendency to be influenced by how a problem or option is presented or framed, rather than its intrinsic properties or logic.

To overcome these biases, you can try to:

  • Challenge your assumptions and beliefs by asking yourself critical questions or seeking alternative perspectives.
  • Test your confidence level by checking the accuracy and reliability of your information or seeking feedback from others.
  • Consider the potential gains and losses of each option, and weigh them objectively based on your values and goals.
  • Reframe the problem or option in different ways to see if your judgment or preference changes.
  1. Evaluate your decision trade-offs

One of the defining features of a "bad" decision is that it involves trade-offs, i.e., giving up something valuable for something else. Therefore, you need to evaluate the pros and cons of each option, and see which one aligns better with your priorities and goals. To do so, you can use various decision-making tools, such as:

  • Decision trees: a graphical representation of the possible outcomes and probabilities of each option, based on conditional logic and uncertainty.
  • Cost-benefit analysis: a quantitative method that compares the expected costs and benefits of each option, based on monetary or non-monetary criteria.
  • SWOT analysis: a qualitative method that assesses the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each option, based on internal and external factors.
  • Pareto analysis: a prioritization method that identifies the most significant factors or causes of a problem or opportunity, based on their impact and frequency.

By using these tools, you can not only compare the options objectively but also identify the key factors that affect your decision, and focus on them.

  1. Communicate and commit to your decision

Once you have made your "bad" decision, it's essential to communicate it clearly and effectively to the relevant stakeholders, such as your team, your boss, your clients, or your family. Be transparent about the reasons and criteria behind your decision, and address any concerns or objections that may arise. Also, be willing to revise or adapt your decision if new information or circumstances emerge, but don't second-guess yourself or hesitate to act on your decision. Remember that making a "bad" decision is better than not making any decision, as long as you learn from it and improve your decision-making skills.


Making good "bad" decisions is a skill that can be learned and practiced. By following the above steps, you can increase your chances of making a decision that aligns with your values and goals, despite the trade-offs and uncertainties involved. Remember that every decision is an opportunity to learn and grow, and that failure is not the opposite of success but a part of it. Embrace the challenge of making "bad" decisions, and you may discover new opportunities and insights that you would have missed otherwise.