Do We Really Make Rational Decisions?

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.”

– Tony Robbins

 

How we humans approach a decision begins with the immediate assessment of risk versus reward. An overall positive value or outcome helps us arrive at conclusions easily. Yet it must be noted, our ultimate behavior and mindset shall govern the way in which we proceed with that decision. Making a decision is notoriously difficult. There is always going to be distracting elements that tend to waive us from the actual problem or item or work of need. Experiments have been done through the ages, asking an individual to share an apple pie among a group of people. The individual would go on to assess his hunger level, decide on how much to share, and whether he’d be meeting those other individuals again or not. He may simply keep the lion’s share for himself, save it for later, and divide the rest. He might also take a small nibble and feel grateful to share among his peers. It is then quite obvious the number of variables and outcomes that can result from an individual’s decision.

 

 

Our thoughts and decisions shape our moments and ultimately our lives. It is therefore a common habit to weigh out pros and cons before taking a proverbial leap, howsoever small it might be, because in the end our decision is for us to bear, the rest is relative.

What factors in our decisions

Past experiences, individual differences, escalation of commitment and cognitive bias are the deciding factors in a decision. Based on prior situations and outcomes we tend to harbor a preconceived notion about certain events and our decisions are therefore primarily governed by it. Individual mindsets and approach to tackle a decision is unique and pretty situational as well. Someone might put off deciding something immediately if there isn’t a deadline, whereas some might decide without much forethought, the outcome of both may vary significantly, each having its own risks and rewards.

In organizations there exists the escalation of commitment factor. It’s basically a pattern of behavior in which an individual or group, faced with increasingly negative outcomes from certain course of action or investment, continues with the proposed pattern. Although this is irrational in view, it tends to align with the decisions and actions previously made. Those with vested interests in such projects requiring maverick decision making, may prefer to resist change and continue with normal protocol. It is true that communication speeds, policies and business politics serve as major hindrances during such situations.

With cognitive bias the topic of discussion is a totally different ball game. Here individuals embrace a pattern of deviation from rationality, where inferences about people and situation may be drawn in a completely illogical fashion. With this preconceived reality, individuals tend to make inaccurate judgements and interpretations, what can simply be termed as irrationality.

Decide independently, trust yourself

To simplify, understanding the importance of the bigger picture is a prerequisite. When we talk about the final result of a decision, or the most integral of decision outcomes, it sways towards either satisfaction or regret. In most cases our individual decision is expected to yield a favourable or satisfying result, rather than depending on someone else to pull the strings. It is more of a feel good choice than anything else. Harbouring on regrets narrows our vision greatly, and makes us more hesitant while facing future obstacles.

 

 

The Right Decision

It is vital that we focus and prioritize our goals and not scavenge after happiness or usefulness. How we perceive our decision and the ultimate approach is in our hands. Intuition is something that I’d probably advice you not to ignore, it may turn out to be quite unforgiving when you do so. Brainstorming is another way to tackle hurdles and arrive at conclusions, howsoever audacious they may seem at first. Generating an idea and sticking with it is desirable, but then learning to rank peripheral ideas and zeroing in on the essentials take time. Relying on instincts, assessing the surrounding environment and taking due note of resources in hand, these are few of the tips that actually matter, you’d find them in any overrated self-help book. Deciding to read this blog post rather than leafing unwillingly through such aforementioned books is probably your first step towards a satisfying and fulfilling day, I can vouch for that!

 

 

“Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right.” – Phil McGraw

 

Action Steps to make better decisions: –

• Learning to say no.
• Brainstorming ideas and ranking them when necessary
• A Positive mindset throughout the day
• Trusting your instincts and intuition.
 Chevaun App

 

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