Decision Making

Decision Making


Decision making is something that we do as humans. Of course other beings make decisions, but to be human involves much more complex thought and often times, collaboration to make the right (or wrong) decision.  What goes into your decision making?  Is it emotion or logic?  Perhaps a combination of both?  Rational decisions during times of crisis can mean the difference between life and death; however, do emotions play a role as well in these situations?




Humans need emotions.  Put simply, if emotions were not necessary for our survival, we would not have them or express them so readily.  Emotions can be heard over the phone when you talk with someone.  They are easily seen on someone’s face when they are excited or sad.  Emotions even are part of our smartphones when we text using emoticons.  That is how important emotions are to us. Emotions are the glue that binds us all together as humans, making our communication (and decision making) effective, especially in critical situations.  When someone runs into a room and yells, “Fire!” everyone knows what to do and quickly, unless it is some sick prank.  We are all connected emotionally to one another.  Essential for survival, it is easy to see why emotions play such an important role in our decision making.




On the other side of the decision-making matrix is logic.  We have the capacity to systematically break down or analyze a situation or issue to get to the root of what it is that we need to do.  Analysis takes time and effort to do it properly.  When we have the time, we can use our rational brains to come up with innovative solutions.  This is where collaboration or brain storming comes into effect.  We can collaborate as a team to make a more informed, collective decision with more perspective than a single individual.  By using critical thinking, we take the emotion out of the decision-making equation and just look at the facts. 


Emotion or Logic 


When should we use emotion and when should we use logic?  Yes. What kind of an answer is that you ask? We should use both logic and emotion to make our decisions, because both bring a certain aspect of what it means to be human to the decision-making table.  We use logic to decipher and analyze when we have the time and use emotion to communicate the decision in real time, in order to effectively communicate what is going on.  If you leave the emotion out of your communication, individuals may get the wrong impression of what it is you wish to do or not do.  Emotions are very important to decision making.  On the other hand, if one does not analyze and construct an objective matrix from which to make a decision, then the decision will lack the direction and support needed to come to fruition.  I have seen both decisions made from pure emotion or pure logic fail miserably; you need a combination of both for a decision to succeed in the long-run. 




This week, take notice of the decisions that you make.  Are they based on logic or emotion?  What side of the equation do you like to make most of your decisions.  Work on the side where you are weaker.  Remember that when you are introspective, you must be honest with yourself in order to improve.  Ask one of your peers or significant other for input into your decision making.  Are your decisions more logical or more emotional?  Does your self-analysis differ from what they think?  Why?  Remember that a healthy combination of both emotion and logic are necessary for a decision to make it in the long-run.


Dr. N