Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Decision Trap!

What is constant? No i am not getting into some phisophical thought about human existence and all that. But seriously...what is that one thing which is constant? Our ability to make a decision everyday. I am not talking about the correctness of the decisions we make, but simply the fact that we make decisions. Even, if we do not want to make a decision, it is a decision in itself. Looking at it another way, you may choose not to take a decision everyday, but you will be met with situations (both simple and complex) where you are expected to take a decision. We all wake up every single day knowing fully well that we will have to face such situations.After all, no one likes to be indecisive.

So how to make decisions? How do you know whether you have taken the right decision or otherwise? No, I'm not repeating Robert Frost. I read an interesting note somewhere that the human mind applies different techniques when it comes to making decisions. There are different rules when it comes to taking decisions amidst simple and complex situations. Let me explain.

If you are buying a mobile phone or a laptop (simple decisions), you will use a highly rational and researched approach. You will engage in thorough conscious deliberation before choosing.

If you are buying a new home or say, you are trying to get married (complex decisions), research has found out that a new technique called "deliberation without attention" works well for such situations. This is more of a "follow your gut" decision than any well-thought-out decision.

So when do you choose to apply "delibration without attention" and when do you take a highly researched decision? For relatively simple decisions, it is better to use a highly rational and researched approach. However, when making a complicated decision, the unconscious in each of us appears to do a better job of resolving factors and making a sound conclusion.

No, this is not a pop psychology and I'm sure many of us will not agree to the stated hypothesis. It's worth a try, nonetheless.

Now that you have taken a decision, how do you ensure that others don't judge you for your decisions. Here is a list of rationalizations you can hide behind; anyday. You can even call your decisions ethical - my favorite, of course. Here is the list. So next time, when you take a questionable decision, rationalize it by choosing one of the following.

  1. If It's Necessary, It's Ethical

  2. The False Necessity Trap (Necessity is an interpretation, not a fact)

  3. If It's Legal and Permissible, It's Proper

  4. It's Just Part of the Job

  5. It's All for a Good Cause

  6. I Was Just Doing It for You

  7. I'm Just Fighting Fire With Fire

  8. It Doesn't Hurt Anyone

  9. Everyone's Doing It

  10. It's OK if I Don't Gain Personally

  11. I Can Still Be Objective

  12. I Did It For Us

Your life will be so easy when you apply these techniques. I haven't yet. But if it works for any one of you, you know how to reach me.

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