How many decisions do you think you make each day? You actually don’t stop making decisions on a daily basis, in 24 hours you could make thousands. Some of these decisions have resonant effects over the course of our lives (like whether or not to go to college, get married, or have children), while others are relatively trivial (like eating a ham or turkey sandwich for lunch).

It is possible that some decisions you make in life are good (like getting your college career right than after tea a good future), while others may not be so good (like the sandwich you made was not a good idea and made you feel wrong).

Perhaps if you look back at your life you will realize that you may not always have made good decisions in your life or perhaps you regret never having made them. Why did you marry someone you didn’t really love? Why did you buy an expensive car if you have children and what you need is a bigger car? What were you thinking when you bought those horrible and expensive pants?

Making bad decisions is quite common and also necessary. But you need to have a deeper understanding of the process behind those choices that sometimes seem irrational. There are a number of factors that contribute to poor decisions and knowing how these processes work and influencing the way you think may help you make better decisions in the future.

Mental shortcuts make you stumble

If we had to think of every possible scenario for every possible decision, the hours would probably fly by. To make decisions quickly and inexpensively, the brain relies on a series of cognitive shortcuts known as heuristics. These mental rules allow us to make judgments fairly quickly and often fairly accurately, but they can also lead to confused thinking and poor decisions.

An example of this is a little mental shortcut known as the anchor effect.  In many different situations, people use a starting point as an anchor which is then adjusted to obtain a final estimate or value. For example, if you are buying a home and you know that homes in your target neighborhood typically sell for an average price of $ 300,000, you will probably use that number as a basis for negotiating the purchase price of the home of your choice.

So what can you do to minimize the potential negative impact of these heuristics on your decisions? Experts suggest that just being more aware of them can help. In the case of the anchor effect, providing a range of possible estimates can help. So if you are shopping for a new car, you can create a reasonable price range instead of focusing on the overall average price of a particular vehicle. If you know that the car costs between 27 and 32 thousand euros for the size and functions that you want it to have, you can make a better decision based on this as to how much to offer the seller. Remember that comparisons sometimes lead to poor decisions.

Beware of comparisons

How do you really know you had a good deal when you bought your food processor? Comparison is one of the main tools used when making decisions. You may know what the typical price of a product you want to buy is, so you compare the offers to find the best possible price. We assign a value based on how the items compare to others. But what happens when you make bad comparisons? Or when the items you are comparing your options with are not representative or the same? 

For example: Would you be able to save 25 euros for a product? Maybe if the product costs 75 euros and they reduce you 25 euros, it is worth it. But what if the product you want is worth 10,000 euros? Do you deserve the discount of 25 euros for such a high price? You may not accept such a low discount at such a high price. You know why? Because 25 euros is worth the same in both situations. The amount you save is not the same as the amount you pay, right? When making decisions, we often make quick comparisons without really thinking about our options. To avoid wrong decisions, relying on logic and careful examination of options can sometimes be more important than relying on your immediate “knee-jerk reaction.”

You may be ‘too’ optimistic

Can you be ‘too’ optimistic? If possible. Surprisingly, people who tend to have natural optimism can get in the way of good decision making. In a fascinating study, researcher Tali Sharot asked participants which they thought a series of unpleasant events, such as theft or the onset of a terminal illness, were likely to occur. After the subjects made their predictions, the researchers told them what the real odds were.

When people are told that the risk of something bad happening is lower than they expected, they tend to adjust their predictions to match the new information they learned. When they discover that the risk of something bad happening is actually much higher than they estimated, they tend to ignore the new information. For example, if a person predicts that the probability of dying from cigarette smoking is only 5% but is later told that the actual risk of dying is actually closer to 25%, people will likely ignore the new information and become attached. to your initial estimate.

Part of this overly optimistic outlook comes from our natural tendency to believe that bad things happen to other people, but not to us.  When we hear about something tragic or unpleasant that is happening to another person, we often tend to look for things that the person could have done to cause the problem. This tendency to blame the victims protects us from having to admit that we are as susceptible to tragedy as anyone else … Because this thought creates too much anxiety.

This is known as the optimism bias or the tendency to overestimate the probability of experiencing good events while underestimating the probability of experiencing bad events. This is not necessarily a matter of believing that things will just magically fall into place, but rather overconfidence in our own abilities to make good things happen.

If you are overly optimistic about your own abilities and prospects, you are more likely to believe that your decisions are the best. You may know that not playing sports, eating junk food and smoking kills, but you will think that it kills others and not you. 

Elle Mcdonald

I am Elle Mcdonald Specializations in Psychology . Graduated in psychology from the University of Tennessee in 2000. Diploma of Advanced Studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and psychological treatments with excellent results.

First Level of Master in Clinical Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Therapists (recognized with a scientific-professional nature by the College of Psychologists)

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