80% of Our Decisions Need to be Made and Only 20% Need to be Made Right — Is That True?

communication mindset
Qualify That Quote — Carolyn Mahboubi Coaching

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Dinner at my aunt Melody, and my uncle Daniel's house is always gracious, engaging, and full of the kind of goodness that comes from sharing a meal (an exquisite one in this case) with a family of people who are empowered to speak their truth.

Wisdom flows as abundantly as the delicious wine my uncle always chooses so thoughtfully.

This is the kind of environment that makes me feel quietly alive!

You see, I am congenitally unable to do small talk. But in this home, I’m surrounded by my people — folks who are drawn to and love “big talk”. For this reason, my ears and eyes, along with my mind and heart are always open and in receiving mode. Wisdom Bombs can explode unexpectedly from any direction around this diverse and multigenerational table.

This week, the wisdom came from a lovely young woman and it was in the context of decision making. In response to a family member not knowing which choice of platter to go with, the young woman offered,

“80% of decisions need to be made, and 20% need to be made right.”


The truth of life today is that we are surrounded by pithy quotes that sound great and maybe even inspire us for a minute and a half, but don’t really impact our behavior.

Instagram anyone?

But every once in a while, we read or hear something that is so elegant, succinct and true that we can feel its stickiness right away.

I recognize a quote is sticky and juicy when I’m still turning it around in my mind an hour, a day or even months later.

But I also know this to be true that so much advice that is often quoted and repeated is absolutely useless unless it is followed by a “qualifier” or what insurance companies call a “rider”.

For example:

  • Experience is the best teacher, but only if we practice reflection.
  • Knowledge is king, but only if it’s applied.
  • Time is money, but only if we have the presence of mind and the focus to use our time wisely.
  • The best things in life are free, but only if we have satisfied our basic needs.
  • You can have anything, but only if you are willing to pay the price.
  • Life is short, but only if you waste it.
  • Patience is a virtue, but only if you understand the difference between being patient and being passive.


So, is it true that 80% of our decisions need to be made and only 20% need to be made right?

Yes, but only if we hone our judgment and discernment in such a way that we can identify which decisions are simply to be made and which ones truly need to be made right.

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