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How Should We Make Hard Decisions?

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

How Should We Make Hard Decisions?

How Should We Make Hard Decisions?

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

wired.com

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Key Ideas

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.

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.

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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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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We all make bad decisions

While we may not like to admit this, we all are making a lot of bad decisions, be it our personal lives, careers or in our jobs. Here is what research says about making good decisions:

The right information, not more

If there is too much information, we tend to make the wrong decision, and even if our decision is well-researched and considered right, we end up dissatisfied. 

The right information, even if less, provides clarity to make the right decision.

Gut feelings vs logic

A gut feeling, or an instinct, is often the right path, and points towards the right decision.

Ultra-rational, logical and unemotional decision-making does not guarantee that the decision taken will be the right one.

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