Friday: September 18, 2020

I found something interesting while reading a book recently – the relationship between our habits and decision making. Most of our actions seem to be a default – taking a particular route to the office or school, or choosing a particular menu. Even the minor things such as holding a cup or a set of cutlery do not require much intentionality- they happen almost automatically.

This plays a part in saving us from becoming ‘decision-fatigued’ because if we were to consciously think about every single action we make daily to the same degree, we would become exhausted. Our brains would just be unable to cope. So we resort to the next available option: “habit” which simply means we begin to automate unconsciously

While consciously making every decision will come at a huge cost, it is worth noting that default ‘automaticity’ also does have the potential to rob us of the myriad of possibilities that would open up when we take every decision and action consciously. Perhaps we might identify an alternative and even more effective travel path or idea, a better restaurant or meet new people.

When a driver driving on a new road, the experience is unfamiliar hence greater care is required. Likewise, when we intentionally open ourselves to unfamiliar cues, our autopilot mode does not run as smoothly and we are prompted to take pauses. These pauses enable us to do some reflection on our actions because if all we did was guided by automaticity, a lot of things would pass us by.

Beloved, without the consciousness to switch off our autopilot mode to intentionally moderate our actions or inactions, we will just waltz into many troublesome situations that are avoidable.


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