Listening to VoicesSeptember 19th
Decisions are a huge part of everyone’s lives. Sometimes they’re just little things like what flavor of ice cream to have and sometimes they’re huge- like which school to send your kid to. The point is, both of those have the same elements present. You weigh the good and the bad, you think which will be better in the long run, which in the short run and then, at one point, you just go for it. No matter how perfectly you consider your options, there is always an element of gut involved, a piece of you that just has to dive in.
I could quote the fascinating dopamine studies done that show how without an emotional aspect to a decision people are mentally UNABLE to decide but I don’t think I have to go that far. If you’re honest you know it’s true. You can be Mr/Mrs/Ms Reasonable, but at crunch time, there’s always a part of you that acts by instinct.
In our Rational and Scientific world this sounds horrifying. Am I saying that we can’t just be “Mature” and “Reasonable” and just do what’s “Right”? Yes, in a way, I am. The issue here is that decision making is not a purely rational act, it never was and to pretend that it is is just plain dumb. We need our emotions involved in a decision, we need that “Sense” that speaks through our veins and not our brains for two very simple reasons.
Firstly, our emotions are involved in the outcome! We are going to have to live with our decision and all the feelings and thoughts that come from it, we are going to have to feel we made not just the right choice, but a choice that we are happy with. In fact most people define decisions on an emotional basis. After the fact, they say, “I’m glad I made that choice.” Or “I’m so upset that I picked the wrong one!” If emotions are going to be our measuring rod for the outcome, shouldn’t it play a part in the choice?
Secondly, we are all the time processing information. Without knowing it we are taking in data that would make a supercomputer overheat. Our brains, wonderful little things that they are, are able to filter all this and tell us what is important and what is dross. This means that when we ask our brain to weigh an issue there are lots of lost little bits of information that we were never aware of floating in there, information that may help us. Our brain can’t suddenly pull up this data, it can’t change it’s operating procedures like that. It can, however, give us a “Feeling”, a sense that something is one way or the other. Many great businessmen and entrepreneurs attribute at least part of their success to listening to that little voice, the one that says, “Go for it.”
So whether it’s Cherry or Vanilla, Mac or PC, Public School or Private or just Yes or No don’t forget that the little feeling your having is not “just emotions” but possibly something much more important- YOU.