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We make predictions all the time. When we anticipate what the person in front of us is going to say or do, we are predicting. Even if it is only something that is a mere few seconds into the future.

It is this predictive capability that shapes our behaviour and the decisions we make everyday.

However, we rarely look at this predictive capability in a conscious manner and apply it systematically for decisions that require us to look farther out into the future.

When we make a decision on whether to take up a new job or to buy a house, we do make predictions of what consequences this act will have on our future selves, but we don't always consider all the possible consequences across the board. We tend to be quite myopic in the consequences that we do factor in while making the decision.

Making good long-term decisions is all in the act of making systematic and comprehensive, not to mention accurate, predictions of all possible consequences of our decision.

There are several tools that we can use for making such predictions. One of which is called pre-mortems. It is often used in the world of product management, where product managers are encouraged to imagine that the product they are working on has been launched and has consequently failed, and then to come up with all the possible reasons that they can think of for the failure, given the approach they are taking to build.

What they identify through this exercise will then factor back into the plan so that they can be avoided in reality.

Such an approach can be quite useful while making decisions even outside the realm of product management. 

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