How do you make decisions?
Posted by Simon Parke, 25 April 2022, 2.48pm
I’d like us to reflect on how we make decisions, and so if that interests you, read on.
Also read on if it’s something you’d like to do; or something that would give you a sense of accomplishment, something done or achieved.
We do make our decisions from different places.
(So, out of interest, if you are reading on, why are you doing it?)
As humans, one of our strengths is that we possess three vital centres of operation when it comes to decisions: our thinking centre, our feeling centre and our doing centre.
One of our tragedies, however, is that we tend to use them in an unbalanced way; focusing on just one. And when we do this, our decision-making can be harmful both to ourselves and others.
So, let’s get a sense of these three centres; and it’s all obvious stuff.
Thinking Centre…used for gathering and sorting out information; for planning and analysing.
Feeling Centre…used to acknowledge my feelings, acknowledge other people’s needs and agendas and to create and maintain relationships.
Doing Centre…used for movement, for pleasure seeking, for accomplishment, for action.
Here is a community of great wisdom.
But, as has been noted, instead of using all three centres in our decision-making, most of us primarily rely on one. It was the one we used for survival purposes when younger. But it does also affect how we go about things now.
For instance, the person who approaches inter-personal dynamics (feeling centre) through logic (thinking centre) may send an email instead of arranging a meeting. The aim of this decision is to avoid feelings, which is how the thinking centre likes it. But that’s a problem.
Or the person who responds to a to-do list (doing centre) by selecting what they feel like doing (feeling centre) or what interests them (thinking centre), rather than what needs to be done – may find their to-do list remains undone.
Or the person who leaps into action to accomplish a task (doing centre) or to pursue and idea (thinking centre) without considering how it will affect other people (feeling centre) – they may end up in all sorts of trouble.
Decision-making from the head is always problematic. Someone working from their head may well hear ‘I should do this’. But this ‘should’ doesn’t get it done; it just makes them feel guilty. And often leaves the task uncompleted.
With ten deep breaths, they need to access the doing centre which takes them from ‘I should do this’ to ‘I will do this.’ It’s a different space.
The head also finds decison-making hard because it jumps around, proposing different ideas, endless ideas, rather than opting for one. It’s like a committee making a decision. The head, left to itself, is a rubbish decision-maker. As are all the centres when left to themselves.
The rounded human being makes decisions using all three of these centres. So, it is a good start to notice which centre is most used by us – something you may well be aware of.
Perhaps then we can introduce other centres in our decision-making game.
Not easy, but practice is perfect.
The Enneagram, which I have written about, is helpful in this territory. But maybe this is enough for now.