How to make decisions without regretting them?

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Louise Hay

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Make good decisions it is not easy, especially when we are dealing with a high degree of uncertainty and cannot accurately discern the consequences of our actions. Therefore, sometimes it is convenient to let our sixth sense speak, letting ourselves be carried away by intuition to tell us what is best to do in the situation we find ourselves in. Indeed, Sigmund Freud said: “When it comes to making a trivial decision, I have always found it advantageous to consider the pros and cons. But in vital matters, the decision has to come from the unconscious, somewhere inside of me ”.

What the choice of a painting teaches us

Imagine your boss asks you to go and buy a Modern Art painting for the office. But when you arrive in the art gallery you meet only five paintings, how would you choose? One possibility is to think about the pros and cons of each painting, taking into account the personality of your boss, the image you want to convey of the company as well as the furniture already existing in the office. Or you could trust your instincts and choose the painting that “makes you feel good.” According to the latest research, the latter is the best option. In fact, a few years ago, several psychologists from the University of Amsterdam conducted this experiment: they asked a group of people to look at five paintings and choose one. The first group were asked to scan the paintings for a minute and a half, list some of the main reasons they liked or disliked each painting, carefully analyze them, and then choose one. The second group was simply asked to look at them. The third group was quickly shown the paintings, then asked to solve a series of anagrams for five minutes and then showed them the paintings again for them to decide. , all participants were asked to indicate how much they liked the paintings. Then the experimenter, seized by an attack of generosity, gave them each one's favorite painting. But before they left the workshop, everyone was asked for their phone number. A month later, the researchers contacted the participants and asked them if they were satisfied with the paintings they had chosen, if they were willing to sell them and at what price. The results were surprising: the people who had chosen carefully weighing the pros and cons were very confident in their choice in the laboratory. But four weeks later the landscape had changed: those who had spent a few minutes solving the anagrams before choosing the painting were the ones who reported the most satisfaction and asked for a higher price for the painting, showing that they were unwilling to part ways. from the artwork very easily.

The unconscious is a powerful ally that knows you perfectly

In practice, it seems that in order to make a good decision (a decision we will be happy with in the future, a decision we will not regret), it is important not to think too much, or at least not rationally, and to let the unconscious draw the his conclusions. It is known as “intuitive intelligence.” In fact, many psychologists believe that we should take greater advantage of our unconscious mind, not only as a source of creativity, but also to help us make better decisions. Why? In practice, when we have to decide between alternatives that differ in a few aspects, our conscious mind is our best ally as it is able to evaluate the situation in a rational way, indicating the best solution. complex, since our conscious mind has limited processing power and cannot handle a huge amount of data and figures, the result it offers us is very bad.In this case it happens that instead of evaluating the situation as a whole, the conscious mind tends to focus on the more obvious elements and, in doing so, ignores the big picture. Instead, the unconscious mind works best when it comes to complex decisions that cover many aspects of our life, because it is able to assess the big picture, it has a holistic view.Moreover, we cannot forget that our unconscious mind is in contact with our repressed impulses and the parts of our "I" that we hardly know. Therefore, he is in a privileged position from which he is able to balance our sense of duty with our desires and impulses. As a result, we are likely to be more satisfied with the decision in the long run. to a more balanced decision. A great strategy is to switch activities, keep the conscious mind busy with another task, and then come back to the decision again.

Should we always let the unconscious choose?

Real life decisions are often much more complicated than choosing a painting. Therefore, it could be a mistake to always be carried away by the impulse that comes from the depths of our "I." The ideal is to find a middle ground between the conscious and the unconscious. Evaluating alternatives rationally, but making sure we listen to what our unconscious has to say about it. If your instincts push you in one direction, don't neglect it, try to understand why you are attracted to this alternative.Maybe it is not a bad decision and, in the end, even if from a certain point of view it may not be the solution. profitable, you could gain from it in terms of satisfaction and motivation.
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