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The Science of Making Bad Decisions

https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/the-science-of-making-bad-decisions/

mentalhelp.net

The Science of Making Bad Decisions
Our blogs are written by a dedicated team of authors who are equally passionate about sharing their insights, perspectives and personal experiences. With a focus ...Read More There's no denying that we all make bad decisions from time to time. But why does it seem like certain people make more bad decisions than others?

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Like Vs. Lust

There are 2 kinds of pleasure: “liking” and “wanting.” “Liking” is a state of happiness and satisfaction, such as the gratification we get after a good meal. But “wanting” comes from the pleasure in pursuing something and feeling seduction or excitement.

Dopamine plays a big role in us wanting something, and it gives our brains positive reinforcement so we want it more and more. 

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Not Having Something Makes Us Want It More

Not Having Something Makes Us Want It More

We naturally want what we can’t have and being denied it makes us want it more. Suddenly depriving yourself of something may empower the cravings, so occasionally indulgences might good.

But from a drug addiction standpoint, a slip-up or two could have catastrophic effects. Instead of focusing on the fact you can’t have something, learn to reframe ways of thinking and choose to fill that space with new people and outside interests.

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The “What The Hell” Effect

The “What The Hell” Effect

This means that once we’ve mis-stepped, we use it as justification to go all out. One bad decision can snowball into bigger consequences, making us temporarily lose sight of our ultimate goal.

Be aware of your actions and way of thinking. And if you make a mistake, dust yourself off, learn from your mistakes and move forward.

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The reward system

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Desire and pleasure

In 1986, a discovery was made that dopamine did not produce pleasure, but in fact, desire. While dopamine makes us want, pleasure comes from opioids and endocannabinoids ( a kind of marijuana produced in the brain), which paints pleasure on good experiences.

Potential clinical application

We cannot explain away our minds by brain mechanisms. Brain mechanisms are part of our minds.

Understanding that desire and dread, for instance, share the same brain operations, could help ease schizophrenia symptoms by restricting a particular dopamine neuron that produces fear.

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Our emotions are short-term biased

Our emotions are obsessed with the present moment because it’s difficult to look past our immediate fears and anxieties. And this prevents good decision-making.

The sweet spot in de...

“Risky” behavior you should consider

  • Propose “moonshot” ideas, knowing that 90% of them will get shot down, but that if one of them gets accepted, it will be a huge boost to your career.
  • Be excessively bold in your dating life, stating exactly who and what you want.
  • Buy difficult books expecting that most of them won’t be useful to you, but also that, occasionally, one will completely change your life.
  • Say yes to every invitation knowing that most of the events/people will be boring, but that occasionally you’ll meet someone really interesting.

Optimizing life for fewer regrets

Most of us are afraid of messing thing up. But we rarely ask, “Would I regret that failure?” If the answer is “no,” then that is absolutely a risk you should pursue.

Sometimes, the right decision becomes crystal clear when put into these terms.

Zero-based thinking

It gives us the rare opportunity to ask ourselves if there anything in our lives that we should do more of, less of, start or stop.

It is a decision thinking technique developed by Brian...

Difficult decisions

Difficult decisions are mostly about weighing the long and short term values. Making objective decisions is difficult because we are biased towards short-term rewards and pre-existing beliefs.

Optimal choices

Ask yourself, knowing what you know now, is there anything you are doing today that you wouldn't do again if you were able to?  

Be willing to stop doing what no longer works. Sometimes it is best to cut your losses and try something else. Be prepared to take risks and understand the potential failure that goes with a new course of action.