When Less Is More

Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking.

If you are asked to pick your favorite brand of jam out of 10 different types, it wouldn’t be too difficult for you. But, if you are given a list of criteria with which to rate each jam, and then asked to pick the jam that had the highest ratings, you will find that what was your “favorite” jam in the first test, is now among your least favorites.

This is because when you don’t understand why you like or dislike what you like or dislike (which is very common!), it is human nature to come up with a plausible-sounding reason for those likes or dislikes, and then adjust your true preference to be in line with that plausible-sounding reason. But the plausible-sounding reason is not always an accurate representation of your true feelings.

Principles to follow