How to make the right decisions yourself

A former CIA analyst talked about personality traits that have a negative impact on our ability to analyze and solve problems. How to make a decision and make fewer mistakes?

As former Central Intelligence Agency analyst Morgan Jones writes in his book Problem Solving the Intelligence Manual, there are seven features of consciousness that have the most negative impact on our ability to analyze and solve problems. Most of them are beyond control and change, but knowing them will help you make fewer mistakes.

1. Emotional component

It's no secret that emotions prevent us from thinking logically. We often make rash decisions in the heat of the moment. So, for example, people get a dog: succumbing to a fleeting feeling, they get a pet, and then they realize that they are not ready to raise him. Man is an emotional being. Feelings inhibit our ability to think logically. You can deal with this: if emotions are tearing you apart, put off making a decision for a while.

2. The desire of the subconscious to simplify

We tend to think that if we focus all our attention on the problem, then it will be possible to control mental processes and solve the problem as constructively as possible. Unfortunately, this is not so. Our subconscious tends to simplify, which negatively affects our rational thinking. The brain goes on tricks that we do not even notice. Psychologists call this action a reflex action, and Morgan Jones calls it a subroutine, or a way to cut corners. That is, the decision-making process is simplified and cannot be controlled. For example, when we hear that someone is on a diet, we reflexively rate them according to our diet stereotypes. We do not make decisions - the brain does it automatically, choosing the shortest path. It is impossible to "teach" the mind to work differently.

The desire of the subconscious to simplify on the basis of template ideas is manifested in many ways: in prejudices, personal inclinations, hasty conclusions, insights and intuition.

3. Prism of patterns

The human mind instinctively perceives the world through the prism of patterns, writes Morgan Jones. For example, people's faces are a template. We recognize those we have seen before. The mind finds a familiar pattern, and then passes on to our consciousness the name and other information associated with this pattern. Or when the light suddenly goes out in the apartment, we do not panic: we know that electricity will appear, because we have already encountered this situation. We also do not control this process, all the work is done by the subconscious.

On the one hand, this feature of consciousness helps us to live, on the other hand, it makes us hastily grab onto a template that seems familiar and draw incorrect conclusions. This stereotype defines racial, ethnic and all other forms of hypocrisy.

4. Prejudice and False Assumptions

Prejudice is the subconscious belief that sets the tone for our behavior and determines our reactions. Prejudices are formed unconsciously, so each of us has them. They are not as bad as they seem. Thanks to the formed prejudices, we easily repeat habitual actions. For example, we cook soup or hold a spoon.

Through habits, a person becomes smarter and smarter. The problem is that we ignore new information that does not correspond to existing prejudices. Unbeknownst to us, prejudices destroy objective truth.

5. The desire to find an explanation for everything

We strive to explain everything that surrounds us. And although these explanations are not always correct, they help us cope with dangers and ensure the possibility of human survival as a species. When we have a goal, when we see meaning in something, then life becomes easier. But the same feature leads us to a dead end: finding an explanation for something, we no longer think whether it is true. We do not try to critically reflect on our version and compare the available alternatives.

6. Ignoring contradictions

Focusing on one of the possible solutions, we reject all the others. We perceive only those facts that confirm our opinion. The brain works the same way in smart, educated people, and their opposites. Defending our position, we are not always ready to consider the issue from other sides.

Focusing on one chosen position and defending it, we lose objectivity.

7. Tendency to hold wrong beliefs

Many of the beliefs we hold most dear are wrong. If we do not want to perceive reality, then we convince ourselves that it is not true. The urge to grasp at wrong beliefs has a devastating effect on our ability to analyze situations and solve problems.