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How we make choices when we don't like all the options
How we make choices when we don't like all the options

If in a situation of choice we do not like any of the possible options, we often give preference not to the best of them, but to the least unpleasant. The difference seems to be insignificant, but it only seems so.

How we make choices when we don't like all the options
How we make choices when we don't like all the options

You might think that these are just two sides of the same coin, but in reality there is a fundamental difference between these actions. This manifests itself, for example, in elections. Often, voters vote for the candidate they find the least unpleasant of the candidates, instead of choosing the person they really sympathize with. When we have to choose between two evils, the way we make a decision also changes.

Choose or refuse

If we turn on the so-called failure mode, we focus our attention on the negative qualities of each option and look for the one that has fewer of them.

In the selection mode, on the contrary, we evaluate all possible solutions from a positive point of view and choose the one that seems to us the most successful. In other words, our attitude towards the available options also changes what we actually choose. The very essence of the chosen one changes.

Consequences of a failure mode

Scientists have figured out how we determine the degree of satisfaction with a decision. If it was based on negative criteria, our satisfaction directly depends on whether we think about what we have chosen or what we have given up. Remembering the shortcomings of the chosen option, we are likely to get upset. If we think about the shortcomings of the options we discarded, we will feel relieved, because our final choice was not so bad.

Change your approach to decision making

However, I would like to remind you that this way of thinking - the lesser of two evils - usually only turns on in situations where people are forced to abandon several options, instead of looking for one optimal one. In other conditions, including at work, it is much easier for us to control the decision-making process.

If possible, try to consciously choose one or another option, and not just abandon the unsuccessful ones. We change our decisions quite often, sometimes even unintentionally. Try to change your approach to decision making as well. This can significantly affect not only how you make your choice, but also your morale after it.

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