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Anatomy of a Bad Decision

Part One: 13 Great Ways To Ruin Your Life

written by Kris Verlé July 1, 2019
Anatomy of a Bad Decision

When was the last time you made a really bad decision? I’m not talking about that roadside hotdog on the way home yesterday. I’m talking about taking a turn which proved so monumentally wrong that you’re still bearing the consequences. Remind yourself of how you came to that decision, and then let go of it.

Life’s a constant succession of forks in the road and plenty of them lead to tattoo parlors, STD clinics, and divorce lawyers.

Question is, how to do better next time?

Neuroscience In a Nutshell

For a long time, philosophers and economists agreed that good decision-making was based on the triumph of reason over emotion.

With advances in neuroscience, we now know that emotions play at least as big a role as logic.

While the rational parts of our brain are centered in the frontal lobes, most of our emotional structures are based in the Amygdala, deep in the brain’s medial temporal lobe.

People with a damaged Amygdala don’t feel emotions in the same way as others. They struggle to make even the most elementary decisions.

They provide evidence that effective decision-making is impossible without the meaning and motivation we assign to it through our emotional input.

In other words, without accessing our emotions, choosing literally becomes impossible.

Maximizers vs Satisficers

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