Every day, we make decisions of varying consequence on our lives. But, when it comes to the important issues, are you being objective?
From opening our eyes to the sound of an alarm clock in the morning to when we crawl into bed at night, we constantly make decisions.
Of course, these decisions don’t carry equal weight. Whether you have a coffee or a tea in the morning is unlikely to alter the course of your existence, but determining if you should leave a job or have children are things that will have a huge impact.
Despite these varying degrees of importance, many of us are guilty of leaving one of the largest factors in decision-making unexamined: our emotional state.
We don’t heed the fact that anger, depression, anxiety, fear and even intense happiness can affect the choices we make. These emotions can spread over our entire world view, affecting how we perceive the past, present and future.
A psychological study conducted over the course of five years in 26 countries found that greater morning sunshine led to higher stock market prices. The sunshine created a more upbeat mood, which authors David Hirshleifer and Tyler Shumway concluded caused people to “evaluate their future prospects more optimistically”.
All of our pretensions about the complex higher-order thinking involved in making large decisions does seem to be rather easily undermined, doesn’t it?
If the idea that your decisions are arbitrary horrifies you, fear not – the good people at NetCredit have whipped up a helpful infographic to demonstrate how to be more objective during the decision-making process.
For example, you can consider how you would view an issue if you were an unaffected third party, to engender more objectivity. Being more conscious of your emotions and how they could impact your behaviour could also stop you being sucked in by pitfalls. You can even try making decisions that other people would think were the most objective.
All of these, and more listed below, will help you combat the irrationality that can come when situations are especially emotionally charged.