Bad Decisions: 5 Rules to Help You Avoid Terrible Choices

Remember, a terrible choice isn’t a terrible outcome.

Darren Matthews
6 min readFeb 4, 2022


Photo by Antonino Visalli on Unsplash

Isn’t a bad decision another name for a bad outcome?

Does our decision-making get bad press because we can’t grasp the impact of luck on our choices? I believe it does. Let’s face it, we’re all control freaks at heart and our brains can’t process the impact of entropy in our lives. Most of us don’t want to cede control to the pitfalls of uncertainty, randomness and luck.

The reality is the forces of entropy influence our lives far more than we dare to admit.

But, it shouldn’t excuse us from making some terrible choices.

Yes, even without the swirling forces of luck waiting to strike, we are more than capable of making a stream of poor decisions. We react without hesitation. Impulse urging us forward without any consideration of even the most important decisions.

Our cognitive biases offer their inherited view pushing us first one way and then the other.

Oh yes, making decisions is hard.

That’s why we make so many poor decisions.

I’m here to offer some perspective-a new way-in the form of rules to help you avoid making bad decisions. Before we get into those preventive measures, we need to clarify one central question…

What is a bad decision?

It’s a question which many people can’t answer easily.

Dick Vitale captures the essence of this confusion here: “Life is simple. Make good decisions and good things happen. Make bad decisions and bad things happen.”

Dick firmly states the quality of an outcome is directly relational to the quality of the decision. Arthur Eddington would argue fervently against this statement. The Second Law of Thermodynamics is quite clear in the role of uncertainty, randomness and luck play in our lives.

Betting in the Grand National shows us this.

Five horses have won the race with odds of 100/1. Betting like this-on a horse with such long odds-defines a poor decision. 5 horses in 183 races have won, which suggests it’s a lucky event-and unlucky for…



Darren Matthews

I’m utterly curious about decision-making | Sharing lessons learned from the thousands of decisions I’ve studied and made | Founder