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Decision Making & How We See the World


Black and white curvy lines

Do you see the issues of the world as black and white or as shades of grey? Are all criminals bad and all law enforcement good or visa versa? Is there one solution to fixing global hunger, climate change, or the outrageous cost of a home in downtown Vancouver? How we see the world will shape how we make decisions and our commitment to them.


People who are shades of grey thinkers, have conflicting emotions about issues and are ambivalent about the choice than those who believe there is only one solution to the problem. Jeff Larsen, psychology professor of Texas Tech University, researches how ambivalence affects the quality of our decision making process and he found thinking in shades of grey enables people to “come to grips with the complexity of the world.” Whereas black and white thinking can shut people off to the bigger picture.



•Speak their mind or make quick decisions.

•Be more predictable in making decisions (e.g., who they vote for).

•Be less anxious about making wrong choices.

•Have relationship conflicts that are less drawn out.

•Be less likely to consider others’ points of view.



•Procrastinate or avoid making decisions if possible.

•Feel more regret after making decisions.

•Be thoughtful about making the right choice.

•Stay longer in unhappy relationships.

•Appreciate multiple points of view.


People who need a decision to be made tend to black-and-white thinking, while ambivalent people are comfortable with uncertainty. Black and white thinkers can make quick decisions, but they struggle to see or accept an opposing point of view, which results in conflict. Where ambivalent people are more empathetic and will seek out compromises by systematically evaluating all sides of the argument.


The difference between these two types of people is highly contrasted in how they view the criminal system. If they believe the laws are rigid and have a heightened sense of justice and gets upset when people don't follow the rules, they probably see the world as black and white. Whereas, someone who is more flexible and believes that every individual's circumstances need to be factored into the law, are probably more grey in their thinking. By knowing how different people see the world, we can start to understand each other better.


Life is not so black and white. Some issues are right and wrong, where others have a lot more variables making them grey. How you decide your point of view on the bulk of the issues facing us in today’s world, determines whether you are ambivalent or not when making decisions.


How do you see the world? Black and White or lots of shades of grey?



 

Shannon Peel helps professionals and businesses define their brand stories and tell them to the marketplace by creating and publishing interactive digital magazines.




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