Choice is the exploration of desire and then the selection of action. In every moment, you are choosing either to align yourself with your own true path or veer away from it. There are no neutral actions. Even the smallest gesture has a direction to it, leading you closer to your path or farther away from it, whether you realize it or not. Cherie Carter-Scott, PH.D.
Studies have found people who make decisions quickly, even when lacking some information, tend to be more satisfied with their choices than those who tediously weight out their options. Some of the difference is simply in the lower level of stress created in making the decision, but a good bit comes from how our brains are wired.
A conscious mind can hold a maximum in the neighborhood of 5 and 9 distinct thoughts at any given time. For most people the number of possible concurrent thoughts is on the lower side of that scale in the 3-5 range. So generally speaking any considerably complex problem with greater than 5 factors can begin to overflow a conscious mind’s ability to function effectivelywhich can often lead a person to make poor choices.
What’s interesting is our subconscious mind is much better at juggling and working through complex problems. Those who intuitively “go with their gut” are actually trusting the work their subconscious mind has already done, rather than second-guessing it. They don’t rely as much on their conscious mind’s much more limited ability to deal with complex situations.
Whatever process we use to arrive at a choice, the satisfaction with what is picked will depend largely on whether one claims ownership of their choices. Feeling pressured into a choice or those made while feeling not in control are frequently colored negatively, even positive outcomes. Conversely, taking full responsibility for decisions can make even failing feel somewhat successful. You’ll know you did your best and you’ll have gained valuable experience for next time.
Often I have commented I seem make better choices when I pay attention to what I feel instead of what I think. It is my belief I am naturally repelled by what I should not do and attracted by what I should do. However, it takes an ability to ignore to a degree the constantly yakking, thinking mind that spins all kinds possible scenarios and outcomes, even impossible and ludicrous ones. The knowledge that my feelings are, on average, a more dependable indicator of what I should and should not do has been a sizeable benefit to me. I am grateful for this insight.
The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.