A Scientific Approach to Making Better Decisions

How We Can Get Better at Making Decisions

Eve Arnold


Photo by Albert Dera on Unsplash

We make 35,000 decisions a day so some sources suggest. Yep, you heard it right, 35,000. That’s 2,000 decisions every waking hour. Quite frankly it seems silly that could be the case, however…

You did decide to read this article, sip your coffee, scratch your arm, think about something else, then bring yourself back to thinking about this article. There are 5 decisions in one sentence.

We have a lot of decisions to make.

We Are the Decisions We Make

Decisions are the backbone of our life. They greet us at every cross-road and every hard question has a decision at the end of it. Decisions are, for some (if you’re anything like me), the bane of your life. It takes a considerable amount of time to make a decision and you’ll perhaps spend considerably more time thinking whether you’d made the right decision.

Decisions are hard because you don’t know what’s on the other side, they can sometimes feel vast and daunting. On the flip side, you can spend countless hours obsessing about a decision that has relatively no impact on your life.

We are the sum total of our decisions. Who we decide to be. If you decide to prioritise your health, you are a healthy person. If you decide to prioritise your saving money, you’ll likely have more than someone that spends it on a whim.

Our decisions define who we are as people — which makes them pretty scary.

Decisions are complex in their entirety. There are so many nuances to decisions, so many hidden complexities and unknown outcomes that they perplex the human mind.

When we are faced with difficult decisions, we do possess the ability to slow down and take our time with decision making. This paper defines our ability nicely:

If humans are faced with difficult choices when making decisions, the ability to slow down responses becomes critical in order to avoid suboptimal choices. Current models of decision making assume that the sub-thalamic nucleus (STN) mediates this function by elevating decision thresholds, thereby requiring more evidence to be accumulated before



Eve Arnold

Sharing the top 1% of insights on how to build your brand alongside your day job. Built an audience of 100K part-time. → http://theparttimecreatorclub.com