Note, this article is not called “the way to make the best decisions”. At the point of decision, it usually isn’t possible to know whether your decision will be a good one or not. That’s because whether it appears good in retrospect will depend on circumstances beyond your control, of which you were unaware at the time you made the decision, and which happen after you made the decision.
However, the best method of decision making goes as follows.
There has been a lot of work in recent years by António Damásio and many others on what states the brain is in when its owner makes a decision (maybe, thinks they are making a decision).
Damásio’s finding, and it has been corroborated by empirical studies, particularly of well volunteers in PET scanners, is that:
We all make decisions based on our feelings. Or, rather we make each decision when we are in our feelings.
In 1928, Carl Jung identified that people receive and process information in four ways: thinking, feeling, knowing and sensing. In the processing that goes towards decision making, thinkers use data: facts and figures; they analyse and deduce. Feelers consider their emotions, and there is a sense of ‘feeling their way’.
Knowers are the intuitive ones: they may not actually know how they made the decision, but they are sure it’s right (incidentally this certainty of being right doesn’t actually make them more right than anyone else!). And sensors will use the input from their senses to inform them.
So, the best way to make a decision is:
1 use the kinaesthetic (ie sensory) mode to add to and enrich the data and information you have available
2 use the thinking (cognitive) mode to analyse that data and information—‘til the cows come home and then some, if you wish
3 use the knowing (intuitive) mode to arrive at a possible decision
4 use the feeling (affective) mode literally to ask yourself, how do I feel about that decision?
A couple of points
—the brain will normally do this for you, whether you think it is doing this or not. Best to “trust your instincts”,
—when you have a group of people with a collective responsibility for a decision:
> We make all of our decisions based on feelings
> Thinker, feeler, knower, sensor?
© 2014 Jeremy Marchant Limited . by Jeremy Marchant . added 7 october 2014 . image: Free images