Making Bad Decisions
I am sure you have asked yourself many times why you keep making the same bad choice over and over again. Today we will discuss reasons why we make bad decisions, how to stop making these decisions, how to become a proactive decision maker, and how to re-train your brain to make better choices.
There are two main parts to this process: first, understanding how to be a proactive decision-maker, and, second, recognizing the conditions under which bad decisions are generally made.
Let’s talk about being a proactive decision maker first:
We are thinking beings. And, as we think we feel, and as we feel we choose; we are literally doing this every 10 seconds in response to an incoming stream of signals from our environment. The signals are from people, discussions, social media, relationships, work, texts, calls emails, the news–life in general. This thinking, feeling and choosing response is our mind-in-action. It is filtered through the complexity of our own experiences—our stored memories.
These memories move into the conscious mind in response to these signals of life, influencing our perceptions. They therefore need to be analyzed in a deliberate and intentional way to see if the perspective they provide is healthy, or if it is toxic. (Taking your thoughts captive.)
We literally need to train ourselves to observe our thinking and feeling in response to incoming information and analyze them objectively before making a decision, otherwise we can fall prey to reactive and potentially harmful choices. This deliberate, intentional, self-regulative way of thinking is proactive, and the good news is that our minds will respond in a very healthy way if we practice doing this on a regular basis. In fact, when we do this we become wiser!
Secondly, we examine our past bad decisions, deciding what our triggers were, what was wrong with how we reacted, what perspectives dominated our thinking, feeling and choosing and how we can learn from these situations and react better in the future. Doing a mental-autopsy on past bad decisions will help prevent you from making the same mistakes again!
This kind of decision-making is very different to reactive decision-making, which is “shooting from the hip” and impulsive. You don’t analyze or learn from your mistakes, which can lead to a pattern of wrong decisions in your life.
So, how can you do this in your life? We have to stand back and observe our own thinking, feeling and choosing and existing upcoming memories, as well as the perspectives they provide, and weigh this all out and decide if it’s good for us—this is called our Multiple Perspective Advantage (MPA for short).
Perspective is everything!
As you do this, you become an objective observer and disassociate yourself from the situation you are in, as though you are helping someone else evaluate their thinking, feeling, choosing and perspective. In this way, you can analyze the pros and cons of how you are viewing a particular situation, and what the best next steps are.
Source: Dr. Caroline Leaf