Friday, July 20, 2007

I always say: flip a coin . . .

. . . and if you don't like the answer you get, go with your gut. Turns out that's not a bad idea.

I've been running behind on my blog reading, so tonight while Mrs. Avacado does a take-home final, I'm reading all about psychology. Very interesting stuff, generally, but this article in particular struck me. In agreement with information overload theories, I've thought for awhile that we just can't consciously handle all the information we get, especially for big decisions. Example: My 18 months in family law were great, but there's a lot of emotional wear & tear from that, plus I really want to learn Spanish (which can apparently help you live longer: ¡Viva español!) and I work better in a rules-oriented environment than a personality-oriented environment, so maybe immigration law is my meal ticket, but I like to philosophize about the deeper issues and help people make really tough decisions plus I'm good with numbers, so maybe estate planning. Argh.

See? Too much information, too many factors to weigh. But apparently my subconscious doesn't care about all that. It makes a shortcut decision based on factors I may not realize I'm thinking about. Does that mean that it always gets the answer right? Not necessarily. But, as the author points out (and as some studies recently have shown*), it does about as well as thinking it through thoroughly.

So tonight, I'm going to bracketologize my life choices, flip coins, and go with my gut.

This just in: Slate published an article entitled: Should you trust your "gut feeling"? It's worth a read.

*The details are all fuzzy, but I seem to remember that they did a study recently comparing the results of an intentionally managed hedge fund with one managed based on the results of hockey games, and the hockey game fund did better. Weird, huh?

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