A binary decision is one where there can be only two choices. The definition of binary is “relating to, composed of, or involving two things”. Early computer machine languages worked off of a system of the numbers 0 and 1 (another binary system).
Our difficulty with them is that usually we are presented with two options that are opposite each other. They present themselves as “you can do this or you can do that”. Most times, we hate to be put in that position to choose.
First, we don’t see binary decisions easily. Why? Because we think up five or seven possible solutions to an issue in our attempt to over analyze and be fooled by our own biases, perceptions, and logic. Framing decisions as binary, simplifies the decision process and clarifies the issues in a way that allows for better decisions and quicker action.
Making decisions is hard. Once a decision is made it closes a lot of doors that we have been exploring. All possible choices offer some favorable outcome in our minds. Some feel better because they do not hurt or disappoint the people involved in the process. But deciding in this way, most times, is less optimal and will lead to residual issues that become complicated over time.
Another problem with choosing is that it forces us to act now. We are great at thinking and analyzing over and over things because it’s both easy and makes us feel as if we are acting responsibly. It feels like we are being very productive when we think and analyze. but we are really not. Nothing changes around us while we are thinking. Nothing.
I understand that the simplicity of reducing a situation to a binary decision of doing this or doing that leaves us feeling naked and exposed. That’s the idea. To force us to get rid of the clutter around choices to more clearly see the best direction to pursue that will lead us to the highest probability of achieving the outcome we desire.
Life and time will judge our effectiveness.
We can never do this in advance or by ourselves.
How should we do this? You first need to understand the context and nuances of a situation in order to better frame a binary decision. This is information gathering which is very useful. Some analysis and thought will be helpful but do not get hung up on this step. Seek to define the binary decision inherent in a situation as quickly as possible. Then decide and act.
You will feel better and less stressed the more you are able to do this.