Behavioral economics take real humans as they are and scientifically proves over and over again that we do not make correct decisions, although logic says that we should, when one coldly deliberates a particular situation after the fact. We have our biases, emotions, we see things too narrowly, we are tired, we go with our gut feeling or we follow some self-appointed gurus, believing in their expertise when in reality there is none.
The science makes us aware of those faults, and tells us how to overcome them. Recent book by Chip and Dan Heath, “Decisive”, offers a WRAP framework (Widen your options; Reality-test your assumptions; Attain distance before deciding; Prepare to be wrong) to help us make better choices in life. Science wants us to think more, deliberate more, consider more. But there must be a line somewhere.
Every choice we make is not perfect and cannot be by design. Maybe I will now step into philosophical argument, but there is no pure right and wrong, black and white, in our lives. If there would be, the path through it would be very easy and possibly boring. I personally think that the gist of life lies in its randomness and constantly fluctuating options and challenges. Simple decisions can have grave but hidden consequences, difficult ones tend to display those consequences very clearly (but still you will never be sure if you can see all of them). If you don’t drink your morning coffee and rush to work instead, you may get involved (god forbid) in a car accident on the way. If you exercise, you may injure yourself. Saving money may lead to dull current life. Bombing Syria means action on international level which seems to be justified in terms of current events, but it brings at the same time suffering to the same people who are to be saved. Each decision, if analyzed too long, will show negative sides (Prepare to be wrong…). But does it mean that we should take more time before we decide on something? And if yes, how much longer is good enough?
If we take our time with every decision, we will get stuck in a void of non-action. I think that we should train ourselves to overcome our own biases, becoming more objective in decision making, but that should not stop us from trusting our feelings. Simple coffee/no coffee decisions should be made as they are made now, unless you are allergic to coffee and may die from its intake. But decisions regarding your finances, family, and people in general, should take more time or at least you should train yourself to involve more brain in the decision process. If we will consciously realize that we may be wrong or that we could miss some important consequences, we may make a few better decisions. Not perfect, but better. And that will surely help.
Thinking usually does 🙂