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Emotions and Decision Making

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I’m a very analytic person. I tend to make decisions based on reason and the probability of desired outcomes. During most of my life I tried not to let emotions influence my decision making process but in the past few years I’ve learned that was flawed thinking on my part. I learned that I need to consider the emotional consequences as well as the material benefits of a decision.

Emotions are the very essence of what makes us human. Everything we do is an attempt to move away from pain and towards pleasure. Once our basic needs are met the main source of pleasure is derived from having a purpose and meaning to our lives. We want to feel like we belong and that we have made a contribution to the world.

Assuming the intent is genuine and not politically motivated, charity is a perfect example of where the main motivation is emotional. We give to charity because it makes us feel connected to society as a whole and that we have made a difference.

At work when making decisions I often will include people who have an emotional stake in the decision. I want them to know their feelings matter and the decision is not just a matter of what is the most profitable or cost effective. Anything done is better done with peers who feel appreciated and are fully engaged.

As a general rule I have found that anytime you give or do for others, you will receive much more in return. The key is that you have to “do good, for goodness sake” and not for any potential reward. Once you impose an expectation of personal return on an act of giving it is then tainted and will only result in disappointment.

In the end regardless of the potential benefits, the act of giving is its own reward.

Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

December 28, 2011 at 8:00 am