Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Trust your gut

Note: I'm not a psychologist. The following is based on personal experience only, probably including generalizations and skewed perceptions.

With my recent moving to another place, I've had to make many decisions, both big and small. Most people think that, once you've gathered enough information, you make your decisions as follows:

  1. think about the pros and cons of each option;
  2. make decision based on the balance between the pros and cons.

But I noticed that the process is usually more like this:

  1. make decision;
  2. pretend to think about the pros and cons;
  3. reinforce decision by stressing the pros and diminshing the cons.

The catch is that the making of the decision happens unconciously: you have often already decided before you're even aware of it. All thinking after that point only serves to rationalize it for yourself or others.

I also noticed that my unconscious decisions very often turn out to be right. If I overrule them with some rational argument, it often turns out that the rational argumentation was overlooking some important point. Apparently, more thinking happens “behind the scenes” than you know. And once you've decided, how important is the reasoning anyway?

So, I try to keep an eye on my subconscious. When I notice that it has already made the decision, I often go with it. It saves a lot of time and effort spent on needless thinking.

1 comment:

Nanne said...

same ianap here, but isn't it that the times you disregard your gutfeeling and it blows up in your face, you remember it better? i dunno. I do know i'm a king at making gut-choices, and then convincing myself it was very rational. especialy when buying (expensive) and redundant stuff ;)