We make decisions every day. Most of them are small: Should I buy that shirt? Others demand more thought: Is marriage right for me? The common thread running between all of them is that we are unequipped to make sense of any of it. The world in which the human race came of age—one of ferocious predators and unforgiving nature—is no longer the world we live in. For the risks we face now, we are out of date. Dan Ariely, author of bestsellers like Predictably Irrational, has built a career mapping the peculiarities of our innermost decision-making foibles, and offers insight in guarding against them.
Sometimes the biggest obstacle that stands between you and your goal is your wayward mind. You often start something new, but end up not finishing it. Think of the number of times you took a gym membership. Or vowed to eat healthy. Or decided on a career choice. What happened? So why do we deviate from our well-chosen and well-thought out goals? Francesca Gino, a behavioral scientist and the author of Sidetracked, researched this problem and found the psychological drivers behind our inability to stick to a plan of action. In this interview, she suggests ways to identify these drivers—and combat them.
We make assumptions all the time. Think of the time when you met someone new. Or when you had to negotiate a deal with a company. That’s just how our mind works. We only have a certain amount of hours in a day, but we more crucial decisions to make, with more unknowns. And so we start using assumptions as short-cuts in decision making. Andy Cohen, propagator of the ‘Assumpt! Strategy’, believes that assumptions are neither good nor bad. We must acknowledge their existence and learn how to leverage them.
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Look at your typical day. There is one thing that you constantly do from the time you wake up in the morning to when you go to bed at night: take decisions. These range from seemingly inconsequential things such as opting to have cereal instead of a bagel for breakfast, to big-ticket decisions such as evaluating […]