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How Should We Make Hard Decisions?

https://www.wired.com/2011/09/how-should-we-make-hard-decisions/

wired.com

How Should We Make Hard Decisions?
We live in a world filled with difficult decisions. In fact, we've managed to turn even trivial choices - say, picking a toothpaste - into a tortured mental task, as the typical supermarket has more than 200 different dental cleaning options. Should I choose a toothpaste based on fluoride content?

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The rational manner

The rational manner

When faced with a difficult dilemma, we should carefully assess our options and spend a few moments consciously deliberating the information. Then, we should choose the best fit for our preferences. 

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The emotional system

It's only in the last few years that researchers have demonstrated that the emotional system might excel at complex decisions, or those involving lots of variables.

This would suggest that the unconscious is better suited for difficult cognitive tasks than the conscious brain, that the very thought process we've long disregarded as irrational and impulsive might actually be "smarter" than reasoned deliberation.

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How emotional decision-making works

Thinking in a rational manner is more effective when there are limited pieces of information.  However, those focused on feelings prove far better in complex conditions

The advantages of emotional decision-making could be undone by a subsequent bout of deliberation, which suggests that we shouldn't doubt a particularly strong instinct, at least when considering lots of information.

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How to make hard decisions

Use your conscious mind to acquire all the information you need for making a decision. But don't try to analyze the information with your conscious mind. 

Instead, go on holiday while your unconscious mind digests it. Whatever your intuition then tells you is almost certainly going to be the best choice.

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How we make decisions

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Implications of emotional decision-making

  • For marketers: Drawing out a decision based on feelings could encourage a stronger allegiance among consumers. This could be achieved through subtle tactics like visuals instead of words, or colors instead of gray-scale.

  • For consumers: Choices that need steadfast commitment should be made with emotion instead of weighing up pros and cons. Choices that need frequent consideration should be made rationally.

Work on the right decision

The way you frame your decision at the outset can make all the difference. 

State your decision problems carefully, acknowledge their complexity and avoid unwarranted assumptions ...

Specify your objectives

A decision is a means to an endAsk yourself what you most want to accomplish and which of your interests, values, concerns, fears, and aspirations are most relevant to achieving your goal.

Decisions with multiple objectives cannot be resolved by focusing on any one objective.

Create imaginative alternatives

Your decision can be no better than your best alternative.

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Decisions Using Our Instinct

Decisions Using Our Instinct

Business leaders often make important decisions that defy any logical analysis. This process may be termed as a gut instinct, a hunch, or an inner voice.

Our emotions and feelings may b...

Patterns In Randomness

Our gut instinct or intuition can come in many forms, like detecting patterns in places where other people only see randomness or having a sudden flash of brilliance which goes against the grain but feels right.

Gathering enough data to make a rational decision also takes up a lot of time, and in today's fast-paced world, by the time one procures all data, the decision becomes antiquated.

Subconscious And Conscious Brain

Our subconsious mind continuously processes information, even when we sleep, which our conscious mind finally learns or infers, lighting a bulb inside us.

We know the gut feeling is true because our 'right brain'(intuition and emotion-based) already knew the revelation that our left brain (logic and consciousness-based) now has come to know.