Normally, we make decisions based on the information right in front of us and overlook data off to the side. That leads to a trap called the “spotlight effect.”
It’s better to move the spotlight from side to side to gather a wider range of information. Use the WRAP method to expand your frame of reference:
√ Widen your options. When facing a decision, treat it as new and distinct from similar ones you’ve made. Beware of viewing the issue in a narrow framework that leads you to bypass alternatives. Don’t settle for those options that first pop into mind.
Avoid either-or thinking. Instead, speak in terms of “and,” not “or.”
√ Reality-test your assumptions. Challenge what you assume you know rather than seek to confirm your existing beliefs. This allows you to incorporate divergent opinions that may not necessarily validate what you think you already know.
Seek out experts with contrary views, and welcome people who disagree with you. This helps you guard against confirmation bias where you favor information that affirms the direction you want to go.
√ Attain distance. Before finalizing a decision, detach yourself from short-term emotions. Whenever possible, wait as long as you can to decide; this helps you distance yourself from stress that can interfere with your judgment.
√ Prepare to be wrong. Overconfidence can cause you to feel undue certainty about the future. Yet unpredictable events can stymie the best-laid plans.
Gird for bad outcomes. Identify contingency plans and don’t get too wedded to your initial decision.
— Adapted from Decisive, Chip Heath & Dan Heath, Crown Business.