The Real Brian Show

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May 8, 2017

Decisions. There is a continuum that represents a decision maker. On one extreme we have the impulsive, in-the-moment decision maker who takes little time for contemplation or reflection; on the other extreme we have the overly-cautious, analytical type who is paralyzed by the contemplation of an impending decision. As with everything in life, here at The Real Brian Show we hope to help you think about finding a balance between these extremes because sometimes situations call for us to lean toward one or another side of this spectrum without going overboard.


The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of... We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart.
Blaise Pascal

Just last month, NPR released a TED Talk on decision making. It reminded me of a very important factor in decision making that hasn't always been around, and that is the sheer number of choices we are all faced with on a daily basis. The effect of living in a society that provides many choices has had a ripple effect on the way we approach other decisions that perhaps don't have that same degree of choices (at least, when it doesn't appear so on the surface).

As Brian says, part of where we each fall on the decision-making spectrum has to do with our personalities. But when we go around contributing the decisions we make to reasons like, "That's just how I do things..." or "I can't help it..." we're inhibiting ourselves -- and often those immediately around us.

Altering a tendency that seems inherently characteristic is no small task, but it is entirely possible. Making decisions is a discipline of aligning the mind with the heart. The quote I inserted at the top of this section, from Blaise Pascal, is a shining reminder of just how enigmatic the human spirit is. Our incredibly complex physiology enables our bodies to learn faster than we become aware of its lessons. Our brains absorb an incredible amount of sensory information every second and we use that information to make decisions without even realizing it at times. Am I cold? I should bring a sweater to work. Does it smell like fire? I should run out of the house.

Lately, I've been noticing that when I'm dragging my heels on making a decision it's often because my heart has made a decision before than my brain did (or vice versa). In my heart I know a truth, but it takes a while for that truth to be articulated in a way I can understand and to which my brain can finally sign off on.

In Brian's advice to us about making decisions, his first point is evaluating whether or not a decision is a heck yes! If that conclusion can be drawn immediately, TAKE IT! Take that decision and own it. Sometimes, no matter how much clarity we look for in a situation, it will never present itself as a heck yes. And in those cases, it is my encouragement to you to build confidence in aligning the reason of your heart with the reason of your mind. How do you build that confidence? By setting aside any fear that comes with admitting your heart or your reason is leaning one way or another.