The paradox is that the more options you have, the harder it is to stop at one. Our expert tells you how to make a choice and not be disappointed later.
Some decisions determine fate – as in the case of choice of profession or spouse, others determine the quality of life. Their style of making them depends on many factors, such as the predominant hemisphere of the brain. Right hemisphere people rely on emotions, intuition and imagination, left hemisphere people rely on logic and rationality, but it is important for both to minimize the level of anxiety associated with choosing. How do we do this? Let’s consider a few options.
Handle your feelings…
Although people are thought to be rational, decision making depends on emotions. And to such an extent that if a person has damaged the orbitofrontal cortex – the area of the brain behind the eyeballs and associated with the processing of emotions, he completely loses the ability to make choices. It turns out that sadness, joy, anger or excitement affect you when you budget and go on holiday. Wait for the moment when you feel calm not to buy a T-shirt with hearts just because you have just been written by the man you love.
Decide on the purpose.
Sometimes you make hasty decisions because you don’t know what you really want. After your boss reprimanded you make plans to change offices. But ask yourself the question, do you need a new career? Are you ready to get to work longer? Are you sure you’ll get a friendly boss? When you think about it, you’ll realize that your original purpose – to get back at your boss or to deal with resentment – is not worth taking drastic steps.
Get rid of any unnecessary information…
If you are looking for a hotel or a camera, you get a long list, looking through which you lose the desire to go somewhere or take pictures. So first highlight the key items for you (price, distance from the station, room category – for the hotel, and functions you use – for the camera) and then go back to the search.
Perfectionism is a personal torture chamber. And the problem is not that ideal solutions are only found in the imagination, but that they usually lack clear criteria. You will never consider all the little things to feel at some point that your man or new car is the best of the best. Enter the rule of “good enough” option, then you can say to yourself in time “stop!
Avoid thinking traps
People have a special feature, like not loving losses. Because of it, you don’t reduce the price of an apartment, even if it’s been on sale for months. In addition, you hold on to information that supports your views (even if it is based on misconceptions) and remember mostly negative episodes (losses instead of winnings). The antidote to misconceptions is the facts: gather statistics and scientifically based thinking to build on them, not the “expert opinion of your neighbor.
Take your time.
Most often, people take the wrong steps during stress or illness. No matter how important the decision is, take your time. After you find the data, give your brain a break. Go for a walk, get some sleep, do some sports or meditation. At this point, your unconscious, intuition and experience will join in the search for options. For three, they’ll figure out what to do.
Flip a coin.
This way of making decisions is old as the world, but not as simple as it seems. Let’s say you have to make a choice between red and green. You flip a coin, preassigning the values of each side. Drumroll, you take your palm away and you see that the bars are red. Did you want to flip it right away? So your choice is green. It’s the same way the advice works. If your friend’s opinion is the same as yours, then the solution is found. If you start a discussion by arguing in favor of one of the alternatives, listen to what you say, you defend what’s closer to you.
Order makes life easier. If you know that you don’t eat more than two slices of pizza at a time, go out for a jog on the weekends and buy any amount of soap on sale, then you put yourself out of Shakespeare’s misery in the spirit of “to be or not to be”.
Imagine you’re giving advice to a friend
Surely, like many people, you consider yourself a naturalized psychologist. Show your abilities! Since it is difficult for yourself to give recommendations, imagine what you will say to a loved one, if he is in your place. You will abstract from your own experiences and help yourself.
Challenge your choice.
When you’re almost ready to say “yes” to some option, become your opponent. This way you will overcome the one-sided view of the situation. Let your alter ego criticize the decision and point out its weaknesses. As a result, you will either reconsider your views or make corrections to the final version, which is especially important when it comes to moving or getting the next education.
Consider the pros and cons.
You listed them in your mind, and now write them down. Sometimes it helps just to calculate the pros and cons. But more often you have to run all the options on the second circle to fill in the “gaps”. And you will notice, for example, that when looking for a home did not think about how far are the grocery stores (which is important no less than the distance to the subway).
People are more effective at making decisions the more they think about the results. Think about it, are you happy that a week ago you bought a blouse or told all your friends? If not, then you have to put a trait of impulsivity on your mind, and no longer give it a solo role. A short reflection (preferably in writing again) will be enough to figure out whether you have won or lost more when you took a step.
And remember: it’s better to do and regret than not do and regret. If you are fond of measurements to the point where you forget to cut them off, try to use this phrase. After all, what happens if you talk to a man you don’t know first? At the very most, the acquaintance will have no continuation. But if you don’t decide, he’ll come out at the next station and you won’t run into him again.