Monday, October 5, 2009

Decisions Decisions

Just finished a book that I started a few months ago and had a couple of chapters to complete. It’s called How We Decide by Johan Lehrer. I really enjoyed reading this book and thinking about how our brain works when it comes to decision making activities.

I enjoyed figuring out my own patterns on decision making and thinking about those of the people that I lead. The other day I was sharing with a colleague about my decision making habits and it brought to mind this book and that I had not completed it yet.

The way my particular brain works is that I am quite analytical about things. I am always for more details, more information so that I can make the right choice. This is just fine for those of us analytical types, but the book talks about when landing on the decision, your best decision will usually be from the gut and not from the raw data. After reading and evaluating the way I come to decisions, it’s not too far off what the book is talking about. While I drive those crazy around me looking for all the inputs to a problem, I still respond to the solution with my gut instinct.

The book is telling me that this is actually the best way to go! It doesn’t mean I ignore all of the inputs, on the contrary, I take them all into consideration. What I have learned from reading this book is that most of our intuitions are based on sub-conscious knowledge. So if you and I perform due diligence on fact finding, then follow our gut instinct, we will find more often than not that we choose right.

How do you make decisions? Fast, slow, never? What is the biggest thing you wrestle with when making decisions? The aftermath of second guessing?


1 comment:

  1. There have only been a few life defining decisions I have made. I have made them 2 ways. The first was to do what seemed right to me. What I wanted, when I wanted it. These have not been wise choices; I have lived to regret them. The second way has been to say,"God, I am so confused, but you say you are not a God of confusion. Show me what YOU want me to do. No matter what you want, that is what I want, too.
    When I have done this, God has usually put an impression in my heart. A strong sense of what he is asking of me. Often this has been counter-intuitive. To help me be sure, He has graciously given me at least 2 other confirmations. (eg, my husband, who generally disagrees with my off ideas, becoming excited and agreeing the idea is from God; and circumstances falling into play in an unexpected way.)
    One example of this was when our 20 year mentally and physically handicapped daughter lost her husband, 4 months into her pregnancy. We were just frantic to either 1)help her legally and logistically to keep her child, no matter what social services said, or 2)arrange a christian adoption. After 4 months of agony and frustration, I called out to God and said, "What IS it you want me to do?!!" He very quietly said, "Offer to take the child".
    As the mother of 3 grown children, 2 with special needs, and grandma to 2 more special needs boys, I was sooooo ready to have an empty nest. I had gone back to get my BSN so I could teach nurses, and was excited to do that. Taking a newborn had never even entered my head. (Besides that, I am bipolar, and did not think my doctor or Social Services would agree to the idea.)
    But I believed I had hear from God. I went crying to my husband, who started crying, too. God had already told him the same thing, but he did not want to put that burden on me.
    We went to my doctor, who gave me a letter, and then to our appointment with SS. They agreed we could take the baby, who they had decided to apprehend and put up for adoption at birth.
    That night (a month early) Alexander was born.
    That was 8 years ago. If we had not had such clear guidance from God about this decision, we would never have made it. Every time things have become "impossible", we remember who asked us to do this, and who provides our strength."


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