Uncertainty, Decisions and Emotions

A crystal ball would be amazing!  Imagine if you could foresee how different decisions and scenarios might play out!  If I took that job, chose that degree, dated that person, or made that phone call – how might life/business have turned out?

Unfortunately, we’ll never know.  Unlike the classic 1998 movie “Sliding Doors” we can’t foresee how life might turn out depending on whether or not we catch a particular train.

Indecision and poor decisions are part of life.  Decisions can be scary as we can’t be sure we are making the “right/best” choice.  People suffer “analysis paralysis”, procrastination, scarcity mentality, and a range emotions and motivations when making decisions.

“Analysis Paralysis”
This is typically an anxiety response and a type of “overthinking”, even when the decision is relatively small, such as what to have for dinner or what Netflix movie to watch.

Overthinking can cause harm such as high blood pressure and panic attacks.  It helps to set limits, especially for smaller decisions without high impact results.

Procrastination is delaying or postponing a decision, task or set of tasks, and it prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.  People often procrastinate because they afraid of failing (or succeeding?) at the tasks they need to complete, because the decision or task is perceived as difficult / boring / unpleasant, or because they lack clarity or commitment to their most important priorities.

Procrastination may be a form of rebellion, or an inherited/learned personality trait. Procrastinators typically leave their decision/action to the very last moment. Planning and prioritisation are important tools to help avoid procrastination.

“I Don’t Want to Spend the Money”
Stinginess is a general unwillingness to part with money, and results in cheaper choices that are not fit for purpose and do not deliver the desired results.

For example, you want a “memorable” night out with a special person but instead choose fast food because you are stingy.   Or you want to improve your business results but don’t invest adequately in the business.

Stinginess is false economy because you buy an inferior product or service that doesn’t deliver, creating additional problems and perhaps the need for a more expensive fix at a later date.

Emotional Reasons
All decisions are fundamentally emotional, then we use logic and reason to justify the decision to yourself and others. For example, the car you drive and the clothes you wear are emotional decisions that you justify to yourself in some way.

Sometimes we disagree / agree purely based on emotions.  We unconsciously seek confirmation of our inherent biases.  Confirmation bias manifests when relationships deteriorate to a non-trust situation.  Commonly seen in relationship breakdowns or divorce, the parties will make decisions that are often against their own best interests because they want revenge or assume the worst of the other party.

Sadly, we maybe unaware of the underlying emotional drivers of our decision making.

Become More Aware
The first step to improved decisions is becoming aware of emotions and hidden agendas (yours and others).

Are you/them scared of making the “wrong decision” and subject to analysis paralysis?  Or are you/them an innate procrastinator in need of proactive planning and prioritisation?  Are you/them innately stingy, and justifying that trait?

What are the emotional drivers?  Awareness requires scrutiny, insight, and personal honesty.

Indecision, slow decisions, and/or emotional decisions cost money.  Indeed, the most expensive decision of all could be the decision you don’t make.

“Don’t let your emotions make your decisions”.

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