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Decision-making for success
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arvindiyer Offline
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Decision-making for success

One of the demands of successful decision-making is being aware of and avoiding the cognitive biases we are subject to as human beings. This earlier thread features a couple of videos on biases and their effects on decision making.

Here are two more videos, this time from RSA on the topic of effective decision-making

Roy F Baumeister on Will-power, self-control, decision-fatigue and energy



tl;dr
: Exercising self-control to perform a task involves energy expenditure in terms of glucose, and this expense means that every decision we make depletes our 'will power'. To stay within the glucose budget, it is a better idea to make and fulfil one resolution at a time in a suitably spaced way.

Todd Landman on Rational Intuition: Strategic thinking and gut instinct for successful leadership



tl;dr : Besides a step-wise rational approach, many successful solutions to challenging problems involve the application of seemingly deus ex machina intuition, which is itself really the product of sustained prior practice of reasoning.

All too often, decision-making and success are topics monopolized by the self-help industry, with more than its fair share of New Age mystics. One way to promote better understanding of what really underlies successful decision-making, without resorting to woo, is via talks like the above which demystify and naturalize the processes of 'will power' and 'intuition'. In particular, Prof. Baumeister in the first talk excoriates the myth of 'The Secret' and says that accomplishing something is not a simple matter of just wanting it hard enough, but involves the systematic adoption of certain behaviors based on our improving understanding of the internal processes of decision-making.
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LMC Offline
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RE: Decision-making for success

Quote:All too often, decision-making and success are topics monopolized by the self-help industry
I believe any domain where a lot of questions remain unanswered by science gets encroached by pseudoscience specially when people need answers to these questions desperately.
Unfortunately there is no recipe for success but there are some really nice tips grounded in pure science, i would like to share this paper
That offers some great tips, one of these which has really helped me has been putting shoes next to bed before going to bed.
And i think as freethinkers we would have some great tips to share in this thread since freethought aims at making better decisions(By minimising biases) and success is all about the decisions you make Rolleyes
(This post was last modified: 01-04-2012 02:37 AM by LMC.)
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LMC Offline
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RE: Decision-making for success

Arvind's videos explain how willpower is infact limited and we should use it judiciously.
Some papers also say that willpower is (analogically) like a muscle, this would explain us getting fatigued/irritated/frustrated, it would also better explain our helplessness with this(you cannot just push a hundred push-ups can you? ).
Another interesting point this raises is that willpower can be trained and improved via practice.
The paper i mentioned above explains how we can use triggers,chutes and ladders to help ourselves, how we in our willpower-energised phase, can do an easy task efforlessly (like putting the shoes next to bed in the evening) and thus make ourselves do the tough task of going for a jog in the morning easier.

This is counter-intuitive to the general understanding of willpower , the "Believe and you shall succeed" strategy as prescribed by most of the people in self-help industry .

The push-up thought experiment helps most people get the point about limits, to the latter-using environment as "extended will", here is another thought experiment, try your best to multiply this in without any help 45663 X 2341 most can't ,and it is easy to concede because the limits are so obvious,now try the same with a a pen and a paper,another example is when we are trying to explain a route,it is difficult to imagine and keep that much information in brain at once but simply by marking the pencil as your campus, pen as the coffee house and cell phone as the destination we can use our desk table to explain the path from time immemorial we have used environment to go past the limits of our mind , why should it be any different in case of willpower?

Here is another link worth checking out.
That covers all these points.
  • Willpower is a mind-body response, not merely a mindset.
  • Using willpower depletes resources in the body.
  • Willpower is limited.
  • Willpower is trainable.
(This post was last modified: 01-04-2012 03:27 AM by LMC.)
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arvindiyer Offline
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RE: Decision-making for success

To get stuff done, distraction needs to be dealt with, besides procrastination. Contemporary romanticizing of multitasking has led to a more permissive attitude towards distractions and hence less urgency in dealing with them. In this recent post on Skepticblog, Dr. Steven Novella enlists some reality checks and cautionary notes regarding the culture of multitasking with the Web 2.0 era promotes.

MULTITASKING – CAN YOU WALK AND CHEW GUM AT THE SAME TIME?

An excerpt:
Quote:... Research has shown consistent differences in information processing between high media multitaskers (HMMs) and low media multitaskers (LMMs). This research shows that HMMs perform worse on attentional tasks than LMMs....
Our brains have finite resources that have to be divided among the tasks in which we engage. Many societies, however, seem to be moving toward greater and greater multitasking demands. More and more people are becoming HMMs, whether they want to or not.
The unintended consequence of our information-heavy multimedia society is that we may be creating a generation of people who maintain a wide scope of attention so as to take in all of the sensory information with which they are bombarded. However, this comes at the expense of being able to focus attention on a single task and filter out distractions. The result is that most cognitive tasks suffer (including, ironically, multitasking itself).

Perhaps, besides procrastination-avoiding tricks, we can compile distraction-avoiding strategies as well (there might be signification overlap between the two)
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arvindiyer Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Decision-making for success

Quote:In the last decade, our understanding of the science of habits has been completely transformed by neurological studies, and what we understand now is that every habit has these three components: a cue, a routine and a reward.

And if you diagnose these cues and these rewards, you can begin changing automatic behaviors in ways that we never really thought were possible previously.
...
What we've learned in the last decade - particularly from neurological studies - is any habit can be changed. It doesn't matter how ingrained the behavior is; it doesn't matter how old the person is; if you can identify the cue and the reward and understand what's driving the behavior from a neurological perspective, the craving, then you can change that behavior. - Charles Duhigg, Author, The Power of Habit

Interview with Fareed Zakaria

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arvindiyer Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Decision-making for success

Focus : The Hidden Driver of Excellence by Daniel Goldman seems to be the latest bestseller on the topic of 'cognitive control strategies'. Here is a podcast interview with the author.
15 MINUTES TO WELLNESS : Episode 13: Information is Power
Daniel Goleman, PhD and Michael Mantell, PhD
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