Pizza with pineapple or without pineapple? Black or white? Life or death? When it comes judgement many of us think about judging people or our surroundings, usually neglecting decision as a form of judgement. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of the word decisions? I know for me I think of this huge dark figure that just pressures us in our daily lives, especially during those multiplication questions in tests. So what is decision making? How does it correlate with judgment? What does the psychology behind it reveal about us?
Every day in our lives, we have to make decisions whether it be small ones like what to eat for dinner or big ones such as what college should you go to; all of these decisions impact our lives one way or another. Decision making is exactly as it sounds; the action or process of making decisions. If you are a DP student – or just a teenager – we have those moments where our brains are fully functioning to its absolute capacity, leading to us make logical decisions and those moments where our emotions just go on a whole roller coaster ride and we make decisions based on the how fast that ride is, then moments where we just randomly make confusing decisions, like doing our homework at 2 am. I know we can all agree that making decisions comes with some weight of responsibility – the number one thing we as teenagers tend to avoid. Being a DP student for instance I feel some type of pressure to know what university I want to go to, what major I want to be in or what career I want to pursue in life. The decision of these are pretty significant decisions that just take a toll on us and that is where judgment comes in.
While making decisions we weigh out the pros and cons, consciously or unconsciously. When faced by a situation that requires us to make decisions, we automatically think about the impact it will have on us and/or others. If I don’t complete my CAS project the positives are that I will have more time on my hands to do other things that I like and the negatives are that I won’t get my IB Diploma. I know it’s quite extreme but in this case, the negative outweighs the positive, so I have to complete my CAS. But many of us don’t have to make such heavy decisions on a daily basis; usually, we are either faced by decisions such as eating lunch or not, exercising or not or joining an after school activity etc. No matter the situation, we all have this fear of making bad decisions.
I know we all have our own definition of “bad decisions” but I think a term we can all agree on is “poor decisions”. In the olden days, economists and researchers believed that humans made well-considered decisions, but in the current age, they have discovered a significant range of mental errors that hinder out thinking such as: survivorship bias referring to our tendency to focus on the winners in certain situations, while simultaneously neglecting the losers who have enforced the same strategy, loss aversions which refers to our inclination to strongly prefer avoiding losses over obtaining gains and confirmation bias which relates to our tendency to search for or favor information that proves our beliefs while concurrently ignoring information that contradicts our beliefs. These are the three that I find to be the most common among us as teenagers. We sometimes don’t pursue our love for something in fear of failure or embarrassment of being wrong; I know I have had tons of moments in class where I had a really good idea to add on during a discussion, but decided not to raise my hand partially because I thought I wasn’t good at articulating my ideas or my idea was just wrong. But you see, you’re not alone for thinking this way; many people in the class also think the same thing, which is why we have those awkward moments in class where pretty much no one says anything because deep down we are all a little afraid of being wrong.
There are situations where we feel indecisive or just don’t know what to do like when we’re told to get into groups during certain activities in class or how the teachers tell us to mix up with the boys we stand there awkwardly cause we don’t want to leave our comfortable sits (AKA me every single day). Whether it’s making decisions for life-threatening situations or just silly things with our friends, let’s speak up more. As Jose Harris once said “waiting hurts. Forgetting hurts. But not knowing the decision to make can sometimes be the most painful”. On a positive note, trust your instincts, my friends, it’s never wrong 🙂