Occam’s razor (or Ockham’s razor) is a philosophical principle designed to help determine the truth, or at least the most likely explanation.
When there are multiple explanations or possibilities, the first line should be to go with the simplest choice.
The more assumptions you have to make, the more unlikely an explanation is.
Occam’s razor states that the simplest or most obvious explanation is the preferred one, until it is proven wrong.
Occam’s razor often used when it comes to scientific theory, but it applies to how we approach choice and decision-making in our everyday lives:
- Don’t over-think
- Don’t over-complicate
- Don’t look for the ‘perfect’ answer
- Don’t over-explain
- Don’t treat every decision as though it were a matter of life or death
- Don’t expect to have 100% of the information you feel you need to make the ‘right’ decision
- Don’t get caught up in internal thought – talk through your options out loud and, if possible, discuss your choices with another person
- Give the decision-making process no more time than the results deserve
Consider that to not make a decision is to automatically make the wrong decision. Making any decision means there’s a chance that your decision is the correct one.
However, sometimes the best decision is not to decide, or to defer making a choice. But if you go that route, make not choosing a conscious choice, rather than the end result of failing to act.
Remember, whatever decision you end up making, you will probably think that the choice you didn’t pick would have been better. Let it go!