A Decision Making Heuristic-How Do You Really Feel?
May 3, 2022
Sometimes, in life, we encounter challenging situations where we are forced to choose between two competing options that look equally attractive. We feel conflicted about the choices. We get worried-“what if I get the decision horribly wrong.”
Many friends often ask me if I have any specific heuristic that I use to help me make the tough calls.
In the past, I have written about a decision-making heuristic that says
“If You Are Not Sure, The Answer Is NO.” But, how does one decide whether they are sure or not sure? Today, I wanted to share a simple technique I use to help me make the choice that my intellect is unable to come to terms with.
The technique involves flipping a coin but with an interesting twist.
I don’t use the coin flip to make the decision that could potentially determine my fate. Instead, I use the coin flip to check how I “feel” when the result is revealed. Do I feel relieved or disappointed/uneasy? I pay attention to what goes in my mind in that instant when the coin flip reveals the choice. Is there a sense of relief that the decision is made, or is there a gnawing unease that is saying, ” I wish the coin flip went the other way!!”
This split-second feedback that comes after flipping a coin tells me how I really feel at a subconscious level and helps me point to the right decision. If I feel relieved or indifferent, I go with the choice the coin flip indicates. If I sense anxiety or unease, I know that I am not sure, and therefore I don’t make the decision the coin flip suggests I should go with.