Tough decisions made with soft touches

Tuesday, 2 September, 2008

From curbing the desire to smoke and gamble, to reducing teenage pregnancies, employing a little gentle nudging, as opposed to blunt and sometimes confrontational ultimatums, is worth considering.

Busy people are trying to cope in a complex world, and this means they simply cannot afford to think deeply about every choice they have to make. The bottom line is that people are, shall we say, nudge-able. With subtle hints, you can convince them to do things they otherwise might not be able to do for themselves. And we think private and public institutions ought to offer carefully planned nudges – designing choices that are less heavy-handed and more effective than mandates and bans.

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Trust your gut, but only when choosing what’s for lunch

Monday, 1 September, 2008

Making decisions based on a “gut feeling” is something we become more proficient at with experience, and through previously utilising “deliberate decision-making” processes.

Otherwise, “going with your gut” should only be reserved for deciding minor, or inconsequential, matters.

Making a gut decision is a perfectly respectable way to, say, choose your lunch. There are other decisions, however, that feel like gut decisions – ones we make quickly and without much apparent conscious thought – that may involve more higher-order thinking, or experience, than we realize. Newell offers the example of a doctor he knows, who insists he can make patients’ diagnoses based on gut decisions. “But that doctor has 20 to 30 years of experience, and has in the past employed deliberate decision-making. So maybe over time, these decisions become automated,” says Newell. “Going with your ‘gut’ may be right when you’re an expert. For example, maybe choosing lunch every day is easy because we do it every day.

Doesn’t the statement “making a gut decision is a perfectly respectable way to, say, choose your lunch,” seem to be just a tad too self-resolving though?

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Riding Shotgun

Saturday, 12 January, 2008

Riding Shotgun by Christine MacLean at Jugglezine.

The new year; this is the season for making changes…

Angela King, a manager in her mid-thirties, knew that her husband Kevin was restless in his white-collar job. While it was good in many regards, it hadn’t been giving him any personal satisfaction. When Kevin started riding along in the squad car with his police officer brother and asking him questions about the police academy, Angela hoped it didn’t mean what she thought it might.

A look at how the life choices of those close to us can have an impact on our own lives.

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Number crunch

Wednesday, 2 January, 2008

I have the same thoughts every January. The opening days of a new year can really bring the passing of time into focus.

“It’s been one year since I meet …”

“It’s been three years since I left … job.”

“It’s been five years since … arrived.”

“It’s been two years since I moved in here.”

“It’s been four years since I last saw …”

“It’s been a year since I last thought these thoughts.”

I’ve been sitting here these last few hours, while people around me resolve to change the world and wash their cars more often, wondering what I will do with this website, and myself, in 2008.

Decisions, decisions…

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