Dilemma is Good for Decision-Making?


Does the following situation sound familiar to you? 

You want to speak up in an important meeting, you know it’s important, and you will make a point, but someone interrupts with their view, and you hold back everything that you are about to say, even though it makes perfect sense to the situation.

On a more personal level, let’s talk about shoes. 

Imagine you are about to purchase new sports shoes. You walk into a store, and two pairs of shoes caught your attention. Each has a different design and colour, but you like them both.

Now, let’s assume money is the most relevant constraint in this situation. 

If you can spend the cash (i.e. no money constraint), you will likely buy both pairs of shoes. That’s a proven strategy for building up a lot of ‘stuff’ at home.

On the other hand, if you were short on cash and could only go for one, the pair that suits your budget would be the one you have to buy. There are no other options available to you.


The Game Begins

This is where it gets interesting. 

You have to deliberate whether you would crash your budget for the higher price (perception that a higher price is better), go for the one that fits your budget (logically speaking, you have to), or walk away. 

Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance, or you are officially in a dilemma.

There are strings attached to each choice you make. Sometimes you stand to lose money; sometimes, your relationship with a loved one or a co-worker might turn sour if you went the other way.

In other words, you are influenced to go in a particular direction given the perception of self-created ‘constraint’ within your environment.


Playing The Game Right

However, looking at constraints from another perspective can be a helpful resource because it helps us prioritize and decide. 

In short, constraints influence our decision directly, or else we will never decide.

It is equally important to avoid being bored with only constraints as the basis for deciding because this will paralyze the entire process of arriving at a good decision. 

How do we balance it up for an effective decision-making process? The answer is as simple as reframing our thoughts (i.e., questions we ask ourselves to make decisions). 

For example, we buy many unnecessary clothes or stuff because we ask ourselves the wrong, biased question.

“Will I get to wear this?” The answer is most likely “probable,” and we bought and did not wear it.

However, if we ask the question:

“Do I love to wear this?” The answer can only be a yes or no. If it is a yes, you will buy it and be sure to wear it; if it is a no, you get to save up!


The Mindful Game

End of the day, to not be influenced is to be mindful. Are we mindful that we are stuck in a dilemma, and how can we create options through reframing our thoughts? 

Mindfulness allows us to make conscious and rational decisions and not be manipulated by the situation or events (e.g. products on massive discount or the excellent shopping month campaign where everything is on sale). 

If we are mindful and conscious of the situation, we can increase our chances of making a more rational choice.

And yes, mindfulness does require a conscious effort.


This is Joseph@RISEUP Signing Off.

May You TRANSFORM, FLOURISH AND PROSPER in the brand new world!