Sometimes decision-makers need a little slack because we all struggle with making the right call.

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All day every day, if you’re awake you’re making decisions. I guess people must be good at it because we’re still here, so far anyway, and yet we seem to mess up an awful lot.

You wouldn’t have thrown that ball Sunday, would you?

I’m a little obsessed with decision-making at the moment because our son has to make a big choice that is complex and that will have a big impact on his life. He’s going to grad school in chemistry and he has to decide which university will be best for him.

My wife and I have mostly stayed out of the way, except for talking out the options with him, because we don’t have any way of knowing which option would be best, and because it’s his life and his choice.

We feel a little helpless. It would be easy if we had some way of looking into multiple futures so that we could help him pick the one that turns out best.

Football fans know they wouldn’t have thrown that pass near the end of the Super Bowl, because we know now what happened as a consequence of that decision. Could all the folks who know the right thing to do was to run the ball, have known more than the experts?

One of the many difficulties of decision-making is that often knowing too little is a problem, but sometimes knowing too much can also be a problem. Maybe in trying to outthink the other team, the Seahawks coaches went too far. Or maybe circumstances in that instant made a perfectly sound call go wrong. That happens all the time. And in any case, can we really know that running would have been the right thing to do? We’re certain what wouldn’t work only because we’re looking back.

There’s another recent example of second-guessing that involved a decision made quickly. Last week officials responded to predictions of a huge snowstorm hitting New York City by shutting down even the subway system. The city was spared the worst of the storm, but authorities weren’t. They were widely accused of overdoing the precautions.

As is often the case with storm predictions, certainty is hard to come by. The officials were right to give a lot of weight to the possible harm that would be caused if they erred in the other direction. They’ll have to take some lumps for it, but they made the right call.

Some decisions are much more complicated than dealing with a one-time event, like Michael Young’s opting to lead Texas A&M rather than stay at the University of Washington. Decisions like that are very individual, so it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about the quality of the choice.

It does, however, have consequences for a lot of people. UW regents now have their own choice to make, and their ability to make a good one may be affected by choices the Legislature has made in the past about funding of higher education.

And speaking of higher education, there is still a choice to be made in my household. My son made spreadsheets with multiple variables on them, and variables within variables; that’s helpful but not the whole answer.

Even experts on decision-making wrestle with choices sometimes.

Susan Joslyn, a UW associate professor of psychology, studies decision-making in the real world. When I spoke with her this week, she said she’d made a spreadsheet to help her make a complicated personal decision. “It gave me the answer,” she said, “and then I thought to myself, ‘Wow, that isn’t what I want to do.’ ”

Her intuition conflicted with the numbers, and that conflict told her there was an important factor that carried more weight than she’d realized. People aren’t always aware of all the factors that influence a decision, she said. Joslyn paid attention to the numbers and to her reaction before making a call.

Which did she go with?

“I went with my intuition,” she said. Your gut isn’t always right, she said, but it’s important to be aware of it, too. We can learn to make better decisions, but no one gets them all right.

Joslyn made a smart suggestion, which is that we should cut each other a little slack when decisions don’t work out.