In the average day, you’ll make hundreds of decisions. Sometimes, you might spend ages contemplating your options. Other times, the decision is simple. Either way, the process is the same.
This article explains why, and helps you start a habit of making decisions, that’ll let you grow as a person.
The Human Mind – A Super-Computer
The human mind is THE most powerful and complex computing system anyone could imagine. Yet, like any other computer, it uses the same system to operate it.
It doesn’t matter how powerful a computer is, or which operating system it uses; the entire system is controlled by answering questions to which the answer is either true, or false (1, or 0). The binary system.
The human mind, with all of it’s complex thought processes, moral decisions, internal belief systems, it’s rules about people, places, religions, etc. ALSO makes all of it’s decisions using the same system.
The only difference, is that the process it uses isn’t true, or false, it’s Pain, or Pleasure.
“will this decision create more pain, or generate more pleasure?“
How it works
Every single decision you have ever made, or will ever make, will be based on the answer to that question.
Let’s say, you’re speaking to a person who lives for excitement and a sense of ‘experience’ in everything he does. You tell him that you’ve just bought him an gift.
It’s a ticket for an experience that involves sitting on the back of a high powered motorcycle as it speeds around a race track at over 100mph.
He, asks himself the question, which in all likely hood will get the following response…
“If we crash, I could be seriously injured, and that would be bad. But, what a wonderful, fantastic experience it would be. It’s something I wouldn’t want to miss even if there is a risk. After all, there’s a risk in everything you do, might as well enjoy it! So, when do we go?”
For this person, the benefits (pleasure) of taking part in this activity far outweigh the possible risks (pain) associated to it.
Now offer the same gift to a person who likes to have a sense of security and certainty about things and doesn’t like to take risks. When they ask themselves the question they will probably feel something like the following response…
“I COULD DIE!!!! Why would I put my life in the hands of a person I’ve never even met before? ARE YOU MAD???”
For him, the possible risks far outweigh the benefits.
The actual response will be different for everyone, but always in response to that simple question.
Why knowing this helps
You can’t just turn off your values and beliefs like a switch. But, knowing that all these decisions are based on an automatic response, gives you a new set of tools.
With this new info, you can start to make educated judgements about the new things you’d like to try.
Maybe speeding around a race track on the back of a motorbike is too much right now, but maybe doing the same thing in a car would be acceptable?
You won’t change your views overnight. But, now you understand more, you can start a habit to make incremental changes every day, or every week. After all, life begins outside your comfort zone!
Don’t believe me? Try it out for yourself.
The next time you make a decision, analyse your answer afterwards and I guarantee the question you asked to get your answer, was about the pain and pleasure associated to it.
Remember though, it needn’t be physical pain. Pain is a feeling. It’s something you’d rather not experience.
Maybe pain for you is letting someone down, or taking time away from another activity, for example.
Let me know how you get on, in the comments 🙂