Wednesday, August 3, 2016

There are no bad decisions, but only bad interpretations


"A widow who was working with some young maids used to wake them up every day before the crowing of the rooster to go to work.

The Young women, tired of the routine and the heavy work, decided to kill the rooster so the widow did not wake them up so early, in fact, they thought that waking up so early was the cause of all their problems.

However, after their cowardly action, they realized that had only aggravated their condition because from that moment on, the widow began to wake them up when she heard the baker starting to work, well before the rooster crow”.

This story gives us an important lesson: the cause of our problems is not always the first that crosses our mind, it is better to think carefully and not act rashly because we could aggravate problems rather than solve them.

Cognitive biases that prevent us from finding the real cause of problems

If we could easily find the real cause of our problems it would be much easier to resolve them and we wouldn’t be so stressed. In fact, when we ask ourselves the right questions, we are already half way to finding the solution. The problem is that we don’t function with the same logic of a machine and often we are victims of cognitive biases that limit our vision.

- The selective perception. We do not see the world as it is but as we are. This means that our dreams, hopes and expectations influence the meaning we attribute to situations. As a result, we ignore a part of the reality, and we focus on what we consider to be more comfortable. The problem is that in this way we can not form ourselves a complete picture of the situation and can not have an objective vision that will bring us closer to the solution.

- The confirmation bias. It is a tendency to favor information that confirms our hypotheses and ideas, it doesn’t matter if the information is true. Considering only what confirms our convictions is not generating a cognitive dissonance, so we are not forced to reconsider our position. Thus, sometimes we see only what we want to see.

- Denial of the probability. For us it is more difficult to make decisions when we have no certainties. Therefore, we tend to reject completely any chance when this creates even more uncertainty, although it could be a good choice. In practice, we prefer to take decisions whose consequences we can predict, rather than choosing an uncertain path or the unknown.

- The responsibility of the external bias. It is the tendency to evade our responsibility and blame the others, so we reduce the stress that can be generated by some decisions. This prejudice also refers to our tendency to let others decide for us, not to have to bear the consequences of our actions. So, we don’t explore what we really want or what would be the best solution, but we let ourselves be carried away by the decisions and policies of others.

How to find out the cause of the problems?

The human mind is very complex, often our emotions, beliefs and expectations play tricks, and keep us from seeing the real cause of the problem, which often lies within us. In fact, some problems would cease to be so burdensome if only we were able to change our view of the situation, or we could see clearly the cause.

1. Take your time. We’ve been told that time puts everything in place, in fact, is a powerful ally that helps us to see things in perspective. So, facing a problem, it is best not to hurry letting emotions be attenuated. That way we can discern more clearly what is the cause and the most appropriate solution. Moreover, during this time the unconscious continues to operate and can also reveal some very interesting things about ourselves, even through dreams. In fact, this is why, when we have a problem, we suffer more often from nightmares, many of which are the key messages of the unconscious.

2. Be aware of your emotions. There’s no need to get rid of emotions and illusions when analyzing a problem or making decisions. In fact, these can be very useful and positive tilting the balance toward what makes us feel better. But it is important to be aware of their influence, to understand the extent to which they affect our judgment.

3. Find out what you're afraid of. Behind every problem that afflicts us is hiding almost always a fear. When something prevents us from sleeping is because generates fear, and fear is a bad counselor when is time to seek the causes or make decisions. In fact, when fear is very big we could also refuse to recognize it, so that the cause of the problem will remain in the shadows, hidden from our consciousness. It is a defense mechanism through which we are protected, but that ultimately causes more harm than good. Therefore, to find the causes of a problem, we often have to embark on a journey to discover ourselves. It is noteworthy that at the very moment in which we become aware of that fear we begin to free ourselves of its influence.

4. Simplify. Albert Einstein said: “Any idiot can complicate things; it takes a genius to simplify them”. When we have a problem we tend to complicate things even more, we have an exceptional talent to dramatize. However, to find the solution and the cause of the problem we should simplify as much as possible. In fact, we should turn us into a kind of a gardener who goes by separating gradually all the branches that prevent him from seeing the trunk. In this process, it is important to be aware that most of the problems have no a single cause, thay are always affected by various factors. The key to solving them is to focus on the root cause.

5. Open yourself to possibilities. The problems tend to obscure the ideas, making us believe that there is only one possible way. However, if we open ourselves to opportunities we discover that there are different roads, some can even help us get out of our comfort zone and grow as a person. Therefore, in front of a problem, it is important to assess all the causes and possible solutions, although initially may seem far-fetched. A good strategy is to put ourselves into the shoes of others for few minutes and wonder what they would think or do, so it will be easier to open our minds.


Keep feeding your neurons

There are no bad decisions, but only bad interpretations

Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to string words together. Discover my Books


Psychology as you never heard about...

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