Blind Spots in Decision Making: Relying on family and friends

We all rely on loved ones for advice, but what happens when their input clouds our judgment? 

Imagine this: You're facing a major life decision, perhaps applying to college. Your parents want to "help" and offer their guidance based on their experiences. While their input is valuable, relying solely on it can create blind spots.

How? Let’s check out today’s story.

The Rick Singer scandal

Parents want to help their children get into college. A natural thing that happens all the time. But what about when that “help” is more about the parent than the child? 

The Rick Singer scandal was all about wealthy parents buying their kids’ way into college. And not just any college!  The FBI called it the Varsity Blues operation and convicted 50 people of cheating the system to help their kids get into places like USC and Yale.

The scandal involved celebrities like Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman, as well as captains of industry from Wall Street and top global law firms. Ironically, the FBI was able to crack the case because one of the coaches who for years was taking bribes from Singer decided to cut Singer out of a deal and take the bribe directly from the parent. Stranger than fiction.

Let’s face the facts

We all need family and friends for advice and counsel. At an early age, family and friends guided most every decision we made. Or in most cases, made the decisions for us. But as we grow up and become professionals with careers or parents with families, we need to develop a broader decision-making circle and must learn to do our own research. We cannot be lazy about this, it is a skill that needs practice and refinement. And if you ask me, it goes on throughout your entire life.

Finding the Right Balance

It's fine to ask family and friends for their help, but do so with caution.

  • Protect yourself by telling them “you are collecting opinions and would like to hear what they have to say.”  

  • Avoid putting yes or no questions to them, since this will lead you to either disregard the advice (and problems with the family member) or blindly following the advice, perhaps into the abyss.

  • Be polite and let them know you appreciate their input as you build your fact base for a decision.

Stay tuned for more!

In the coming weeks, we'll delve deeper into strategies for effective decision-making. Additionally, keep an eye out for our upcoming podcast episode where we'll explore managing family dynamics for healthy decision-making.

Read or listen to the full blog post here

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