How to Make Clear Decisions and Avoid Information Overload

How to Make Clear Decisions and Avoid Information Overload

One of the most important elements of both chess and investing is making clear decisions.

Internet search engines are commonly asked questions “What is the best mutual fund?” “What is the best dividend producing stock?” “What bond should I buy?”

How do you know if you can trust the answers Google (or Yahoo! or Bing) provides.

Some opinions may make the idea you are researching sound like the greatest prospect out there, while others may issue dire warnings.

How can you make a clear decision when bombarded by lots of ever changing data?

Information overload

Recently I spoke with Grandmaster Michael Adams on The Goldstein on Gelt Show, and he told me that a similar problem exists in chess.

“In chess, there’s basically an information overload,” he said. “Thousands of top games are being saved and downloaded to the databases.”

Adams explained that while many players teach themselves through computer chess, and you can read about any chess position or game online, this information doesn’t always translate very well into actual play.

“What may work for the computer doesn’t necessarily work well for humans,” he added.

When I asked Michael what he advises on how to separate out the information you need in order to make a practical move, he told me that you have to know yourself very well and also to know your opponent. He gave this example:

“If you think your opponent is a very aggressive, sharp player who likes tactical positions, you might just go to a quiet position and then he can get frustrated there, or if you think he is aiming for a quiet position, you might try and play something very sharp.”

Know what you want

In order to make a clear decision about anything, the first step to take is to know what you really want. Then you can start working out how to achieve it.

When you are drawing up a financial plan, what are your fiscal goals? Every person has his own wants and needs in life, and what may be good for one individual may not be appropriate for someone else.

For this reason, when you start sifting through volumes of information, don’t let the wealth of data overwhelm you. Ask yourself first and foremost whether any of it is relevant to you and your specific goals and circumstances.

When you know exactly what you want, consult with your financial advisor, who can help you navigate a solid path through the maze of information towards your ultimate objectives.

To learn more what Grandmaster Michael Adams says, watch here.


Douglas Goldstein, co-author of Rich As A King: How the Wisdom of Chess Can Make You A Grandmaster of Investing, avid chess fan, international investment advisor and Certified Financial Planner (CFP®)