Consistently Good Decisions

Key Takeaways

  • Wisdom comes from education and experience, but there are other factors as well.
  • There are cognitive strategies that play a role in wisdom.
  • Using these strategies can help us make good decisions.

During World War II in the Pacific, General MacArthur received long briefings on major battles. After listening to the briefings for three or four hours, he would make a few minor changes which were, according to the times, perfectly done. MacArthur used his education and his 50 years of military experience to make those decisions.

Using our education and experience to make decisions is a hallmark of being wise, something Dr. Marianna Pogosyan writes about in her Psychology Today article, “What Does It Mean to Be Wise?” However, education and experience aren’t the end of the story when it comes to wisdom.

Dr. Pogosyan points out that the cognitive strategies of open-mindedness, intellectual humility (or recognizing you don’t know everything), and the consideration of different viewpoints (perspective taking) all play important roles in wisdom. By combining these three strategies with education and experience, we’re able to make wise choices.

Of course, different cultures have different perspectives on wisdom, as Dr. Pogosyan is clear to state. Decisions that are considered wise in one culture may not be considered so in another. Educational systems differ and experiences vary widely, leading to a wide range of ways decisions are made and conflicts resolved.

This is why perspective taking is so important – looking at things from a multitude of angles is key. And when it comes to making decisions about your money, it’s no different. You’ll want a lot of input from others: reading information, talking to your advisor, and having discussions with trusted family members.

Once you gather all that information, sort through it and process it, you can make a decision. And while you may not always make perfectly wise decisions, if you work to employ wisdom in your decisions, you’ll at least make consistently good decisions. In other words, if you reach for the stars, you’ll at least end up with the moon. Until next time, enjoy.


If you’d like to read more on this topic, here are a few of our past Coyle Blog posts that you might enjoy:

How to Make a Good Decision When Bad Things Happen

Reason Driven Decisions



Gary Klaben serves as a Financial Advisor, and visionary for Coyle Financial Counsel. He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

Learn more about The Coyle Process, approach designed to get your arms around the big picture, so you can make informed financial decisions. Ask Gary about The Coyle Process and schedule a complimentary consultation and start living the Good Life Managed Well™.
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All information is from sources deemed reliable, but no warranty is made to its accuracy or completeness.   This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only, and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective client.  The information is not intended as investment advice, and is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or invest in any particular investment or market segment.  Those seeking information regarding their particular investment needs should contact a financial professional.  Coyle, our employees, or our clients, may or may not be invested in any individual securities or market segments discussed in this material.  The opinions expressed were current as of the date of posting but are subject to change without notice due to market, political, or economic conditions. All investments involve risk, including loss of principal.  Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

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