I don't know about you, but I get stressed when someone asks me what I want for lunch. Food delivery apps give us hundreds of restaurants willing to bring our meals right to our door. Entertainment apps give us thousands of movie titles to choose from on a Friday night. Choice is the purest expression of free will -- the freedom to choose allows us to shape our lives exactly how we wish provided we have the resources to do so. But choice is difficult because it also represents sacrifice. So, here's an easy-to-understand guide to choice. It will help you understand the roles of bias, priming, and other psychological quirks in decision-making.
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Not only will you be able to make better decisions yourself, but you'll also gain valuable selling and positioning tips that will make your audience more likely to choose the offering you're selling. What is choice, exactly? In its simplest form, choice is the ability to make a decision when you have two or more possibilities. But the theories and mental models about choice go further than that. Here are two of the most common theories on choice:. Choice theory is the study of how decisions get made.
The Choices We Make | Karma Brown
The term was coined in a book of the same name by William Glasser , who argued that all choices are made to satisfy five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom, and fun. The idea humans primarily make choices that further our own interests is not a new one, and it's seconded by the rational choice theory. Rational choice theory is a framework used to model social and economic behavior.
According to rational choice theory, individual actors choose whichever option will maximize their interests and provide them with the greatest utility, or benefit. Underlying these three basic ways of thinking about choice is the assumption we truly understand our preferences and how to weigh them against each other. But what happens when freedom conflicts with power?
How do you choose when two options will provide you with equal amounts of fun? Another definition. Iyengar decided to conduct a study with the two colors, asking women to choose which shade they preferred. Some biases are conscious. For example, I prefer dogs over cats -- I think dogs are friendlier, more lovable, and less likely to scratch me.
Implicit bias is everywhere, and it affects the way we act and treat other people -- sometimes to alarming results. This unconscious form of association is a large part of how the human brain trains our memories. For instance, Aronson and Steele also found that African-American students who filled out demographic information prior to a test performed more poorly than African-American students who did not.
Merely priming students with their group identities was enough to surface societal stereotypes that unconsciously affected performance. In , Frederic Brochet conducted a study with 54 participating oenology undergraduates. He asked the students to rate two bottles of red wine, telling them only that one was expensive and one was cheap.
In reality, Brochet had filled both bottles with the same cheap wine. Similarly, in a Dutch study, subjects watched what they were told was a high-definition program in a room with posters touting high-definition images. After the program, they reported their experience was superior to standard-definition programming. Here are four cognitive biases that unconsciously affect how we make decisions. The manner in which choices are presented to us also affects how we view them.
They guessed that the cars were going 31, 34, 38, 39, and 41 miles per hour, respectively. Also known as the bandwagon effect , ingroup bias occurs when a person in a group acts in a similar way to other members of that group.
Interestingly, the bias exists across arbitrarily created groups such as through a coin toss in addition to groups based around religion or sports, among other affiliations. In a study conducted by Daniel Kahneman, participants were given mugs, chocolate, or nothing, and given the option to either trade their wares, or choose one of the two items if they had started with nothing. This bias draws on humanity's innate aversion to risk. Let's say you have two music choices. You could listen to an album you've heard before and enjoyed or one you've never listened to.
While the section option could turn out to be your new favorite album, it could also be an assault on your ears. The ambiguity effect is what would make many of us choice the first, more familiar option. Three months ago, I packed up all my things and moved out of the city I've lived in for 23 years to work at HubSpot, a company whose existence I'd only recently discovered.
Choosing the wrong kind of a cheese is a smaller and less costly mistake than choosing the wrong job. And yet the decision to move and change jobs felt far, far easier than my cheese selection. There are too many possible outcomes, which your really cannot control. The only thing you have power over is the decisions that you will make, and how you would act and react to different situations. Wrong decisions are always at hindsight.
Why do we make bad choices?
Had you known that you were making a wrong decision, would you have gone along with it? Perhaps not, why would you choose a certain path when you know it would get you lost? Why make a certain decision if you knew from the very beginning that it is not the right one. It is only after you have made a decision and reflected on it that you realize its soundness. If the consequences or outcomes are good for you, then you have decided correctly. Otherwise, your decision was wrong. Take the risk: Decide.
Since life offers no guarantee and you would never know that your decision would be wrong until you have made it, then you might as well take the risk and decide. It is definitely better than keeping yourself in limbo. Although it is true that one wrong turn could get you lost, it could also be that such a turn could be an opportunity for an adventure, moreover open more roads.
It is all a matter of perspective. You have the choice between being a lost traveller or an accidental tourist of life. But take caution that you do not make decisions haphazardly. Taking risks is not about being careless and stupid. Here are some pointers that could help you choose the best option in the face of life's crossroads: Get as many information as you can about your situation. You cannot find the confidence to decide when you know so little about what you are faced with.
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Just like any news reporter, ask the 5 W's: what, who, when, where, and why. What is the situation? Who are the people involved? When did this happen? Where is this leading? Why are you in this situation? These are just some of the possible questions to ask to know more about your situation.
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This is important. Oftentimes, the reason for indecision is the lack of information about a situation. Identify and create options. What options do the situation give you? Sometimes the options are few, but sometimes they are numerous. But what do you do when you think that the situation offers no options?
This is the time that you create your own. Make your creative mind work. From the most simplistic to the most complicated, entertain all ideas. Do not shoot anything down when an idea comes to your head. Sometimes the most outrageous idea could prove to be the right one in the end. You can ask a friend to help you identify options and even make more options if you encounter some difficulty, but make sure that you make the decision yourself in the end.
Weigh the pros and cons of every option. Assess each option by looking at the advantages and disadvantages it offers you. In this way, you get more insights about the consequences of such an option.