Thinking About Thinking

Book excerpt of the book “Problem Solver: Maximizing Your Strengths to Make Better Decision” by Cheryl Strauss Einhorn: How could knowing about ourselves as decision-makers impact, for example, the 200-plus food-related decisions we make daily? What happens when you check into a hotel and are greeted with a fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookie? If you’re an Adventurer, who likes to make decisions quickly and instinctively, you’ll likely grab the snack. But by recognizing that you tend to make decisions without cautionand that that’s not always the best way to make decisionsyou might more easily say no to the sweet snack sitting on the hotel lobby counter. If you’re a Listener, who tends to heavily weigh others’ opinions, you might hear those other voices and skip the cookie, especially if what you’ve been hearing is that you could shed a few pounds. But that may not be what you wantor even shoulddo. Understanding your Listener blind spots might help you learn to quiet those outside voices, better channel your own inner voiceand enjoy a delicious cookie!    

The consequences of grabbing the sweet treat at the hotel check-in counter may be minimal, but to decide on your next car purchaseor which hospital to go to for surgerywith the same “go from the gut” attitude has much greater consequences.

In our lives we face many high stakes decisionsones where the outcome is unknown, the decision is likely to have a long-term impact on our lives and the price for getting it wrong could be costly. Knowing more about our decision tendencies can be life-changing.

Do we want to do what we’ve done before? That’s the basic question we face for almost every decision because that is how our minds operate, from the reel of our past experiences. It’s all our mind knows and so it uses those memories to guide our future. Yet to answer that fundamental question about whether we want to repeat a prior decision requires several pieces of knowledge: How do we engage with our decisions? How have those decisions turned out? What can we do to make them better?    

The truth is, our decisions are the only thing that we really have control over: how we choose matters. Yet we often end up with choices that are made by others, because we’veknowingly or unknowinglyabdicated the control over a decision. And frequently, we simply didn’t notice that a decision is before us…(More)”.

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