When it comes to decision making, I propose that there’s two main forces that come into play. Your conscious and your subconscious. Your subconscious is awesome and gives you the gut-check type feelings that you can’t necessarily explain. It processes tons of data, gives off feelings, but doesn’t make any decisions for you. That’s the job of the conscious.
The conscious allows for pro-active processing of data to help you come to decisions. When we make decisions, (which I believe is our greatest single skill to be learned) we use our conscious to 1) poll any memories relating to the decision, we then 2) poll our subconscious for any feelings or gut-check impressions about the decision. Then finally we 3) consider any particular values we have on the matter, put the ingredients into the soup pot, swish it around a bit, let it simmer and then spit out the best answer to the decision at hand (let me know if I’ve omitted anything here).
The individual ingredient in this soup that I’m going to focus on here is the “particular values” portion. Most of the people I’ve talked to have a hard time defining any PARTICULAR values that they may have beyond generalities like “live good” “be good” “be comfortable” etc…. Enter the “Nugget”…
Some people call them “pearls of wisdom”, “gems” “sayings”, “Quotes” or “advice”. I’m going to use the term “nugget” to refer to a small and remember-able phrase or set of words that can be called on by the conscious to help evaluate the current decision or thought at hand. Take for example a quote from Winston Churchill: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” This is a nugget that I personally call upon in a wide range of situations.
I look at nuggets as individual tools in your mental toolbox that can be used to make better decisions quicker. The nice thing about them, is that after you’ve considered if a particular nugget is in line with your beliefs and values, then you can call upon the nugget itself and NOT upon all the things that came to have you choose that nugget to believe in. For example the area of a circle is “pi R squared”. As long as we’ve put in enough brain-power to “believe” that this formula is correct, we can then just use the formula itself and NOT have to show the “proof” of the formula when we go to use it.
The danger here is in NOT doing your due-diligence and performing the proper evaluation of a potential “personal-nugget” and in putting in a wrong or bad nugget into your value system. There are PLENTY of potential nuggets out there that are in my opinion wrong or bad.
Even though the potential exists to install a faulty nugget, the rewards of installing “good” nuggets, in my opinion, far outweigh the chance of installing a poor one. The more tools in your mental toolbox, the easier it is for you to build a better life faster….
What do you think??