Today's Poor Decisions Are Fuel for Tomorrow's Better Ones
Let's stop seeing our faults as unfortunate ends and start treating them like stepping stones to progress.
Big Think Edge is a video-driven platform that catalyzes happiness and performance in professional environments by cultivating leadership, creativity, and self-knowledge. Learn more about Big Think Edge.
We recently asked Duke University psychologist Dan Ariely whether the study of behavioral economics, of which he is among the world's foremost experts, is an optimistic or pessimistic approach to evaluating human decision-making. You can view his response in the video below, a preview clip for our upcoming Big Think Edge course on decision-making:
If you're not familiar with the concept of behavioral economics, think of it as a study of all the many different elements — emotions, social factors, irrational thinking, etc. — that contribute to human decision-making, as well as how outside parties can take advantage of predictable behaviors. In essence, scholars like Ariely analyze lazy thinking, gullibility, and other forms of irrationality. As he mentions in the video, making a career out of that sort of studying can get pretty dispiriting if you allow it. Yet Ariely chooses not to take that approach. He doesn't just focus on the faults of human nature; he embraces the fact that we've got so much room to grow. In this way, Ariely maintains his optimism in the face of overwhelming evidence that there are over 7 billion irrational people on this planet making major decisions every day.
Ariely makes an excellent point here:
"Our goal as scientists is to figure out where we go wrong and what can we do to not let our nature destroy ourselves and the world. And hopefully get to a slightly better outcome."
Instead of seeing our faulty decisions as unfortunate ends, we need to start treating them like stepping stones to progress. This is the lesson Ariely brings to the table in our upcoming Big Think Edge course on decision-making. The Duke psychologist is joined by other visionary leaders with a diverse array of expertise: economist Larry Summers, former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, retired Army General Stanley McChrystal, science educator Julia Galef, New Yorker writer Maria Konnikova, and more. This array of experts will provide advice and guidance to help you better your decision-making and execution strategies.
Ariely is confident we lowly humans have the potential to move past our brain's preferred shortcuts and create our better selves. Remember to allow today's poor decisions to inform your decision-making tomorrow, and the next day. Sometimes the best decisions are the ones you don't make twice.
Learn more about Big Think Edge.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.
- Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
- The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
- Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.
- Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
- He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
- Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.
- Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
- A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
- The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.