Triangulation: Raise Your Probability of Making Good Decisions

Humility and triangulation of great people is an excellent way of raising ones probability of making a good decision. — Ray Dalio

No one wants to be wrong.

Being wrong is the most painful way to learn. It results in unwanted consequences, rejection and failure. So, how do you avoid, or decrease your chances of being wrong?

You can avoid taking risks all together but that’s really no way to live…

In a world thats changing so quickly, the biggest risk you can take is not taking any risk. — Peter Thiel

You can also increase your probability of making good decisions by gathering information through the mental model, triangulation.

What is triangulation?

Triangulation is the process of gathering and validating information from two or more sources. It’s also called cross examination.

The idea is that you feel more confident in a decision when the same results are validated or invalidated from different sources of information. Triangulation increases your probability of making a good decision by increasing your perspective, credibility and validity of the results. It also helps you eliminate bias by not relying on one method.

This is the fastest way to get a good education and enhance decision-making. — Ray Dalio

Triangulation originates from the physical world of surveyors, maritime navigators and military strategists. The process is used to determine the location of an unknown point by forming triangles to it from known points.

By analogy, triangular techniques in the social sciences attempt to map out, or explain more fully, the richness and complexity of human behaviour by studying it from more than one standpoint and, in so doing, by making use of both quantitative and qualitative data. — Cohen and Manion (2000)

How do I use triangulation?

There are four basic types of triangulation.

Data triangulation:
Use different sources of information to increase validity of information. Examples: interviews, articles, documents, reports, photographs and observations. Complement interviews with articles and statistics with photos.

Investigator triangulation:
Use multiple researchers when gathering information. The different backgrounds and personalities gives you different questions, observations and a broader understanding.

Theory triangulation:
Use alternate theories against the same set of information. This avoids the risk of researchers coming to a conclusion based on their own pet views of the information. You basically want people to argue over a set of information from different theories.

Methodological triangulation:
Use multiple qualitative and/or quantitative methods to gather the information. Examples: surveys, focus groups, interviews, observations.

Data collection — John Latham

When you’re not sure of something or you have conflicting information, get more triangulation.

Do not feel absolutely certain of anything. — Bertrand Russel

More on Triangulation

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Founder, CEO at Newzip (YC W21)

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