When it comes to decision making, are you a thinker or a feeler? In the 1990s neurologist, Antonio Damasio, found that patients with prefrontal cortex damage, an area associated with emotions and mood, struggled to make basic decisions like matching socks. Even without brain damage, most of us find it harder to make decisions when we feel flat. Emotions are KEY to decision making, whether we realize it or not. Science now shows that decision making is 95% emotions and 5% reason. Emotions have enormous power.
Your communication will also have greater impact if you appeal to emotions more than logic. Dale Carnegie said, “When dealing with people remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” It’s not about manipulating or tugging at heart strings, but connecting your message with the FELT needs of the other person. Make people feel connected, and motivated to change. Then they will change.
In decision making logic is important, but can easily become an infinite loop of procrastination. Sometimes you just have to boil it down to one key question. In the words of Carlos Castaneda,
Anything is one of a million paths.
Look at every path closely and deliberately.
Try it as many times as you think necessary.
Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question.
Does this path have a heart?
In other words, how do I feel about this decision? What is my gut telling me? How much passion do I have for this or that path?
Even if you think you’re too old to do something, or too young to do something, even if the risks seem great and the odds seem low, if your heart says go, then go.
We’re faced with a barrage of decisions. Which job to take, which house to buy, which politician to vote for etc etc. How can you make the most effective decisions about the big issues? Make your pro and con lists for sure. Seek advice from friends and professionals if it helps. Research and weigh decisions rationally. But ultimately, let your heart guide you. Which decision makes you feel empowered, excited and alive? Which decision gets you of bed in the morning with a spring in your step, ready to move mountains to make a start? Go with that one.
As Blaise Pascal said,
All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling.