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My 2 cents: Do you have to make an important decision? |

My 2 cents: Do you have to make an important decision?


| Kellie Dietrich

One of Malcolm Gladwell’s books, “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,” is about how our unconscious quickly evaluates situations and makes decisions within a blink of an eye. Gladwell covers topics from divorce and military strategy to music and shopping.

One study he mentions was conducted by social psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis. He questioned shoppers coming out of a store that sold low-cost items like kitchen accessories, and asked how long they deliberated their purchases before buying them. A few weeks later, he followed up with them on the phone, and found that those who deliberated their purchases longer were more satisfied than shoppers who made impulse buys.

Then there are bigger decisions in life that require more money and commitment than buying a kitchen accessory, but seem to be easier to make. This may be because people have gut instincts of what the right choices are for them, such as how a bride gets a certain feeling when she tries on her future wedding dress for the first time. She just knows.

Dijksterhuis repeated his study, but to shoppers leaving Ikea, a store with more expensive items. He discovered that the reverse was true with these larger and more complicated purchases. Shoppers who went with their gut instinct were happier with their purchases than those who spent time deliberating.

In the afterword of “Blink,” there is a quote by Sigmund Freud that sums up the differences between these small and large decisions very well.

“When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature.”

Ultimately, if the decision is important, trust your instincts.

Contact Kellie Dietrich: kdietrich@readingeagle.com.

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