How do you make choices and decisions? Do you follow a certain rule every time you need to decide on something or are you, perhaps, one of the spontaneous souls who go with the flow?
Our Emotions Make Faster Decisions
The thing is that no matter what the answer to that question may be, you and I are not much different. Why is this? Because even though we, humans, have evolved further than any other species and have developed the unique cortex brain system for cognitive thinking, research shows that it appears to be slow when making decisions – the much older, limbic system overtakes that job.
This is the case because the limbic system is in charge of emotional, automatic reactions and works as a binary code: “either…or”, thus is faster. Whereas the cortex one has a whole plethora of operations to reconsider and weigh out: perception, speech, abstract thinking, conscious actions, and the processing of all this requires time.
These two are connected and most of the time the limbic system only prepares the ambience before the actual decision is made by the cortex system. It’s good to know that we are not all “rational” or “irrational/emotional” beings, but something in between, and to admit that we have limitations is to understand the capacity you have on hand.
Practice Making Decisions
I believe that making decisions is a habit and can be learned. If you are in a situation of having to make multiple decisions on a daily basis, the probability of getting better at it is quite large. I’ve experienced this at work and it really works.
Obviously, there is a whole spectrum of decisions: from tiny and insignificant to the ultimate big ones. They say that presidents are saved from making small decisions, such as what to wear, have for dinner and other humdrum in order to leave space for what’s important.
There’s a lesson in this: don’t bombard yourself with the unnecessary, but also don’t exempt yourself from practicing either.
Control-less vs. Control-full
Anxiety is involved in both circumstances: lacking control or being fully in control, and yet my bet is that you’d rather have the latter. What’s wrong with being control-less? Among other things, it makes you feel powerless and incapable of doing anything, as if everything around you is happening in spite of what you think and have to say. It’s no good, and understandably so.
I’ve come to realize, though, that you’re never completely control-less. Even if you’re to imagine the worst-case scenario of being deprived literally anything you can think of, something remains, and that something is your thoughts, opinions, and attitude. This ultimately means that you’re always in control by choosing how to react, think, and behave in a situation.
Unless you’re brainwashed and computerized, you’ll have that. In moments of despair, try to think of being in control of yourself, the inner self which is most “you”, and that nobody can take that away.
My world was turned upside down this year (after moving country, facing culture shock, isolation, being unemployed for the first time in life, and approaching the very end of my 20s) and many a time I felt like I was lacking control. After much self-deliberation, I concluded that you’re never at the extreme side of things: fully in control or full out of control.
There’ll always be things you can control and others you can’t, even if you’re the most powerful person on earth. And nobody is. After all, if this wasn’t the case then we’d all be still living under totalitarian regimes, feeling powerless, overpowered and lacking any control. You have the control and always will.
How do you deal with making decisions and lacking control? Please feel free to share in the comments below.