7 Ways Our Brain Deceives Us When Making Decisions 64

our brain deceives us when making decisions

This is a guest post by Oliver Raw – a former journalist, now working as a business consultant and blogger at Edusson. He’s also a freelance writer interested in society, culture, management and psychology.

All of us are only people. And no matter how hard we try to be rational and flawless when making decisions, we still make mistakes.

The main reason is that our brain uses heuristics – certain methods to optimize the problem solving process, which often interferes with the logical process.

Here are the main ways our brain misleads us when it comes to decision making:

1. Last seen version.

Imagine we need a designer to make a production catalogue. Most often we will give the task to someone we have already worked with or at least heard of from our friends.

Of course, this doesn’t guarantee that the work will be done in the best way, on time and at a good price. But for some reason we don’t consider other options.

We often optimize our selection process this way. Starting with buying food at the grocery store (we simply take goods of a famous brand or what we have tried before) and ending with the selection of a supplier.

Such way of making decisions helps us save time and – in the minor cases – can be completely reasonable.

Solution: If the issue price is high, better expand the list of alternatives.

2. Dive into the problem.

Let’s say that – as a business owner or manager – we enter a new region with our products /services and look for a sales partner.

After the initial negotiations with the most interesting company, we discuss the partnership conditions, payments, etc. But suddenly we face a huge number of difficulties.

Our potential partner is not satisfied with our workflow process, rises questions on minor issues and makes every possible delay.

And we spend time, effort and money trying to solve all these. But by that time, we already could have seen results from working with someone else.

Persistence is an important quality of a leader. But sometimes it should make way for prudence.

Solution: Always bear in mind the final result and when the problem occurs. Think if there are any ways to solve the issue in a simpler way.

3. To be or not to be.

These are the moments when there is only one option to choose from. Or at least that’s what we think.

Sometimes we face an unpleasant choice where the point is to choose one out of all unfavorable alternatives. Examples of that are “Give us 10% discount or we will find other suppliers” or “The conference can be set only at 9 am”.

Such mechanism is good for making quick, but not the best decisions.

Solution: There are always more options. Don’t let others put you in uncomfortable conditions. The key to successful business is a search for alternatives and compromises.

4. Raising rates.

Let’s say we have a big office printer. Once we have payed a pretty penny for it, and now it is broken. Again.

The master suggests we pay another good sum for repair or to buy a new one. Sure, the standard thinking would be “We have invested a lot in it and it is a pity to throw it away…”.

We think that previous investments increase the value of the item and keep investing, even though buying a new one could be way cheaper.

Same could be applied to:

  • our team mates (“we spent so much efforts on their training, we gotta give them a chance”);
  • customers (“the team has spent lots of time to get this order, even though it will not bring much profit”);
  • projects (“yes, we have problems here, but we can not give up here…”)
    and more.

This trap is even similar to the one of gambling.

Solution: Switch from past investments to present profits. The value is not always in money and efforts put, but in what kind of return we can get today.

5. Imaginary urgency.

Sometimes we think that the decision should be made right now or we’ll miss the boat.

This trick is often used by manipulators in different professions, prompting us to take hasty decisions.

When in a hurry, we take them way less efficiently because our brain uses heuristics to help us decide, yet increasing the chance to make the wrong choice.

Solution: Make sure it is a real emergency and figure out all the possible consequences of the wrong choice. If someone is actively trying to rush us, we should think about his motives too.

6. Putting off making decisions.

Some decisions are very unpleasant, so we put them aside as if it is a visit to the dentist. And, unfortunately, the problem is only growing.

This psychological defense is intended to protect us from unpleasant situations in life. However, a leader’s duty is to act on behalf of the company’s interests, not personal desires.

Solution: Be honest with yourself and be aware of the consequences of a delay in solving the problem.

7. I like it!

Sometimes we like something so much that we make the choice without considering other options or calculating the consequences.

Solution: Analyze all options before taking the decision.

A Decision Algorithm to Help You Avoid All These

These reference points will help when there are doubts about the objectivity of the current decision-making process:

Situation: What are the initial facts? How important is the issue?
Goal: What should be a positive result of the decision?
Options: What are the ways to achieve the goal? What are the alternatives? How can we find more options?
Choice: How much will each option cost? What are the chances to achieve the goal with each option? What are the pros and cons of each option?

Heuristic methods might mislead us sometimes. However, it is hardly necessary to get rid of them at all. They are the basis of our intuition and “managerial flair”.

We need to learn the mechanisms of decision making so that we can be protected from manipulations and achieve synergy between intuition and rationalism.

What do you think? What other way do you know in which our brain deceives us?

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10 Things Uber Successful People Do in the Morning 15

10 Things Uber Successful People Do in the Morning

Who doesn’t want to be successful? Whatever our purpose in life may be, we want to achieve success with it. Although success is usually perceived as career growth, it also encompasses personal growth. These two things go together.

So what can we do to reach the personal and professional growth of uber successful people? Maybe we can imitate some of their habits. Their morning rituals, in particular, set the pace of the day.

Did you know that the way you start your mornings affects your entire day?

You probably felt that, but guess what: science proves it as a fact, too.

In a study called “Waking up on the wrong side of the bed: start-of-workday mood, work events, employee affect, and performance,” researchers found that whatever the mood of workers was during the morning, they preserved it throughout the entire day.

So if you start off in a good mood, you have greater chances of having a great day. That’s why morning routines are so important.

Let’s learn from the ultra successful people, shall we? How do they start their mornings?

What The Most Successful Do in The Morning

1. Spend Time with the Partner.


As we said, success is not only about professional achievements. It also means having the right person by your side.

Take Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan as an example. They are both crazy successful, and they are definitely happy to have each other.

Waking up next to the person you love makes every morning special. Appreciate that moment. Have a coffee together. Talk. Be glad you’re there for each other.

2. Mindfulness.

Yes; mindfulness is a habit.

Successful people are always busy. Can you imagine a hectic morning with dozens of urgent email messages, business partners calling, and the kids yelling? And they are still in their pajamas! That’s why they practice mindfulness.

Researchers from The University of Sydney found that mindfulness reduces work-related stress and improves the mood at work. That’s why successful people always seem ready to deal with any situation.

So how do you practice mindfulness in the morning?

Just wake up. Take few deep breaths. Be aware of the present moment. Be aware of the responsibilities the day ahead will bring. Relax, and tell yourself that you’re ready.

3. Plan the Day.

A good plan will set you on the right track.

Plan your tasks for the day in the morning. When you have such an outline, it will be easier to handle all responsibilities. You’ll know you’ll have time for all tasks.

If you realize there’s not enough time, you should plan how to outsource. If, for example, you cannot complete a business report, you can hire assignment masters to write or edit it for you.

4. Exercise.

I know; it’s a cliché. However, it’s also an activity that works.

Physical exercise makes you fitter, but it also makes you happierWhen you’re done with your morning exercise ritual, you feel at ease, and things start to clear up.

Most successful people exercise. Hillary Clinton does yoga. Obama works out for 45 minutes six days per week. Mark Cuban does cardio fitness. Follow their example!

5. Practice Patience.

Too many things ahead? If your schedule is busy, you’ll be eager to get things done ASAP. The morning is the period of the day when you should practice patience. Relax.

You already made a plan. There’s time for everything. You’ll get through the day. For now, cherish this precious moment of morning relaxation.

6. Juice Up.

How to Win The 9-to-5 Battle by Staying Healthy at Work letsreachsuccess.com

It’s no wonder why so many celebrities are into the latest juice detox trend. Healthy juices give you valuable nutrients and make you feel more energized.

Have a different juice every single morning. Sure, the juicer will take some cleaning after, but the juice will certainly give you enough energy for that.

7. Eat Breakfast.

You saw this coming, didn’t you?

Uber successful people know that the breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s even better when it’s healthy.

Yes; the juice can be your breakfast, but it won’t make you feel full for long. If you don’t intend to have a standard breakfast, pack some fruit for work. A banana and an apple are mandatory!

8. Hydrate.

Have a glass of water as soon as you wake up. Hydration is essential for the way your entire system functions.

9. Be With the Right People.

In Tools of Titans, author Timothy Ferriss refers to a so-called “five chimps theory” in zoology. According to that theory, you can predict the behavior of any chimp if you analyze the five chimps they usually hang out with.

There’s a lot of wisdom in that theory. When you surround with nervous people, you’re nervous, too. When you surround yourself with positive characters, you reflect good vibes, too.

The first people you contact in the morning will set the mood for your day. Choose them carefully.

10. Celebrate Achievements.

When you wake up with a positive mindset, you’ll boost your chances of spending a good day.

Instead of thinking about all obstacles ahead, you should take time to think about all achievements you’ve made towards your current goals. This appreciation will convince you that you’re on the right track.

When we sum things up, all these morning habits of the ultra successful people seem pretty simple, don’t they?

However, it takes tons of persistence and commitment to stay true to them. Start by making small steps. Pick few of these activities and repeat them every day, until they turn into habits.   

Cathy Baylis is a personal growth expert who writes insightful articles that motivate and challenge others. She has worked as a writer for a little over a decade now, and owns several blogs that she updates on her free time.