To look back and say the choices we make are worth it. That is what makes your life worth living, dreams worth dreaming and the goals worth striving for. However that is only if we can say yes with conviction; it was worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Decisions come in all shapes and sizes. Some decisions can shape your life completely and change everything you thought you knew. Some may land you in a place that is difficult to deal with and some are as simple as what to eat for dinner. Sometimes these can be one and the same. Sometimes these decisions are forced upon us, and sometimes they are made for us. For the ones that are within our control it is often difficult to look into the future far enough to know with the clarity of a crystal ball that it is the right decision. Even the decision as what to eat for dinner, in which the clarity seems to be completely there and infallible, can land a person unpleasantly getting to know the ins and outs of their bathroom appliances. So how as people do we make decisions? From personal experience from having made a decision or two, and having seen others do the same, that it is by convincing ourselves it is correct. It is then going through with that decision with full certainty even where none can really exist. If we did not convince ourselves of this no person in the world would get any work done. The key to a good decision maker therefore is in the speed that this conviction can be overturned when evidence presents itself to the contrary.

When evidence is presented that goes against a person’s belief system or decision that was made there are a few different actions many people take. Many will take these pin pricks against their known world as a threat and dismiss them as an anomaly. The good decision maker will set up a mental weigh scale and see if there are any conflicts. If there are he or she will make another decision as to whether to adjust their current viewpoint or keep it the same. Here in lies another decision. How can we know whether this decision to change our viewpoint is the right one?

Any system of belief or judgment made is based on evidence that we use to judge if a decision is correct and thus convince ourselves it is. There is no such phenomenon as blind faith. There is always evidence in some amount no matter how small to motivate our action whether correct or incorrect. Without evidence no rational decision could be made and no weighing of options could take place. There is a reason people gather in religious ceremonies and the reason is simply that there would be no religion otherwise. It feeds on itself; you originally join a following largely because other people are doing it. That in itself becomes evidence which only becomes more reinforcement for those already in the following as well as those future members. The reason for this is evidence of other people who feel the same way as you do. In essence a place such as a church or a workplace is simply a place to validate ones-self. When a Christian can walk into a place every Sunday where possibly hundreds of other people agree fully on communal beliefs validation is not hard to come by.  So faith is not blind since the belief is always started with a solid base of substantiation when other people are seen acting as you do. The evidence for what is called faith is in those around you and is always being reinforced. It is the same but possibly less life altering as when a worker in any corporation walks into his office building and sees other people working for the same company. They are a part of a group and usually would share the same corporate beliefs that are required of the company’s employees.

So what makes a good decision maker and how can we tell when our decisions are correct?  How are we individuals? One way to define yourself is through the group mentalities you choose. Follow the crowd you choose while always looking for anomalies that challenge your currently held viewpoints and adjust accordingly. Never dismiss a detail out of hand, however small, as it could turn out to be important enough to change your life. Base your beliefs on evidence you have gathered personally and not on the crowd you are a part of. Look for validation within yourself most importantly as well as in those around you. If all of these fail and in the end you look back and are still unhappy with your decisions, stop being a pessimist and grow up. Since there is always another decision there is always another opportunity to change your life.

 

6/14/09