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Decision Making: How To Lift The Load Of Doubts And Hesitations?

Jarvis, sometimes you gotta run before you can walk

How tough is decision making? Sometimes, life brings us to crossroads and then tests our innate ability to make decisions. But, again, is the ability to make decisions really something innate?

Yes, all of us are naturally capable of taking decisions. But, like many natural processes in the world, decision making is never truly an independent process and it certainly never has binary outcomes.

Rationality And Heuristics

When we talk about scientific research, we say that cognitive bias is a researcher’s worst enemy. While scientific education trains us to dissect any problem rationally, our brains are wired to look for shortcuts that enable us to make more efficient decisions. These shortcuts, also called heuristics, enable us to innovate and improvise. They, sometimes, can lead us to irrational decisions as well.

But, when we look at life from a distance, we realize that not every decision that we take can be fully rational, logical and tangible. Why? Because rational decisions are taken considering probable outcomes in the future. And we can’t always — with precision— predict future.

And when we confront situations where the outcome of a decision can (and with equal probability) be success or failure, dependence on complete rationality can lead to indecision and that, in turn, eats up precious time.

The Social Brain

Apart from that, many of us have a tendency to think with a “social brain”. Right from childhood, we are conditioned to think in ways that the society deems fit — civil, mannered and within the box.

And hence, whenever we are making decisions, we tend to think about social outcomes as well. Instead of using our brain, we think with a collective brain (a social brain) and that, again, leads to decisions that do not achieve the intended results.

Which Way To Go?

You see, decision making is tough. We expect ourselves to be rational all the time and to be socially fit all the time. The former becomes a heavy load that we put ourselves under and the later becomes a pile of hesitations because it puts us under the danger of becoming different — ineligible under the norms of social acceptance.

And that’s why and under such circumstances, we really need to learn to depend on the unconscious drag towards the heuristic (innovative) tendencies of our brain. Most of the risks that we can ever take in life are possible, in my opinion, because our brain is capable of drawing heuristics.

It doesn’t always like dissecting all problems logically. And thus, sometimes, we can put logic aside and take important decisions in life which may not be fully rational and foolproof.

Take The Leap, Sometimes

The inclination to always take foolproof and fail-proof decisions also arises from the way we have evolved over millions of years. Survival of the fittest has been the norm of nature and we avoid making mistakes to survive. But, we forget that making some mistakes might bring us closer to being the fittest.

What we should always remember is that we can avoid mistakes but we can never prevent them altogether. All of us make mistakes. That’s how we learn and our decision-making process should reflect that corollary. A good way of making effective decisions is the acceptance of outcomes that we call mistakes.

All of us are taught to walk first and then run which is a logical thing to do. But, since the problems in life can be insane and illogical, our reaction to them — the solutions — have to be unconventional and illogical, from time to time.

When we don’t clearly see the path ahead but, we still need to keep moving, we need to take leaps of faith. That’s the only way we can lift the heavy load of doubts and hesitations. That’s the only way we can take risks and that’s the only way we can truly know ourselves — our capabilities and whatever drives us.

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