Gather Useful Information

Share this post

Gathering useful information is critical for anticipating the probabilities of getting what you want in the face of an always uncertain future.

Useful information is anything we know, would like to know, or should know that might influence our decision-making but that is not under our control. This includes factual information from the past and judgments about current or future situations that help us anticipate the consequences of acting on our alternatives.

In choosing a college, for example, we would want to know what academic majors are available (factual info), what friends might also enroll (uncertain current situation), what the weather will be like (uncertain future situation).

The information we base our decisions on should be useful in the sense that it could influence our choice of alternatives. Useful information should come from credible and unbiased sources, be timely, and acknowledge uncertainty. Information about uncertainty, such as the weather conditions in 2 years, should recognize the upside and downside risks and their associated probabilities.

Too many decisions are made based on wrong or incomplete information. Consciously considering information needs and gathering useful information before we act is essential to good decision-making.

Ask yourself:

  • What do I wish I knew and how might I get it?
  • Is the information I've gathered from reliable sources?
  • Am I considering the sources of my researched statistical studies and their biases?

Ask your head:

  • How likely am I to get my most valued opportunities and goals from each school?
  • Am I giving in to laziness or reluctance?
  • Is it worth the time and effort to get more information before making my final decision?

Ask your heart:

  • Are my feelings stopping me from getting the information I want?


  • Find ways to talk with people who attend or have recently attended each of your school options.
  • Find a way to visit each school, even if it's by finding someone currently there who takes you on live tour over the phone.
  • Learn about life beyond each campus: eating establishments, convenience of amenities, local activities and culture, etc.
  • Visualize a typical week at each school and consider what information you might still be missing.

Featured Decision Guides

Find instructions and educational information to help guide your college choice.

Decision Making Step by Step

The Conversations for Clarity worksheet provides a structured method for making progress toward a decision. It helps you find your weakest Decision Chain link.

Learn the Decision Chain

The purpose of making good quality decisions is to get more of what you truly want out of life. A good decision makes sense and feels right.

Commit to Follow Through

Commitment to follow through means that you are set to execute on your decision. It's like pulling an internal switch, and you'll do whatever it takes to make your decision real. You're ready when you're prepared with all the necessary resources like time, effort, money, and help from others. You should also ready to overcome obstacles and have a plan B prepared.

Sign up for our online class

It's a 5-6 hour, self-paced course and recommended for any age 13 and above.