Today’s Daily Prompt asks “How are you more likely to make an important decision — by reasoning through it, or by going with your gut?
First, what is an important decision? I thought of three decisions I’ve made that are important. One, should I buy this car? Two, should I rent this house? Finally, should I date this woman?
By coincidence they are in both chronological order and from the most rational to the most instinctive.
Choosing and buying a car seemed to me to be a rational decision in a lot of ways. I first decided what style of car I wanted, a five door hatchback. I also decided that I wanted one that was comfortable, well optioned and powerful. I researched the “hot hatch” category and decided which three cars to look at. Then my gut and emotion took over, the VW Golf GTI just felt nicer, the door sounded better when it closed, it looked less plasticky so that was the one I bought. The final rational element was that I was offered a good price.
Renting a house is always a mix of rational and emotional. Is the rent right, is it close enough to public transport, are the rooms big enough, these are the rational elements. Do I like the area, is the house pretty enough, do I like the kitchen, do I like the way the house is laid out, these are the emotional elements. Two different people might give them different weights – when my last partner chose our house she picked one that had a good view, a large backyard and a light and airy living room; these are not as important to me and when I moved out I found one that was $120 a week less in rent. Was I more rational? No, I just weighed the elements of choosing a house differently.
Relationships are almost entirely emotional decisions. There could be some rational thinking, you might not start a relationship with your best friend’s sister or with a woman who lives three hundred kilometres away (though I’ve known men who have done both).
But how rational are we even when we think we are being rational? Jim Camp in this article argues that decisions are emotional not logical and points to some research to support that.
We are also influenced by a number of other factors. This article looks at decisions and concludes that we are far from rational when it comes to consumer decisions and points to several reasons why.
So when I made that mostly rational decision about buying the car how rational was I? Probably less than I thought at the time.
What do you think?