Something seemingly simple happened today on a family outing that caused me to reflect on the challenges of decision making. My wife, our little son and I were walking on one of our favourite parks. We did the first round on the 1.5KM circuit and were about to start the next round when our little boy started getting uneasy.
Every parent knows those noises, they start simple and if ignored, they escalate into a full-blown infant screaming meltdown. We had a decision to make: do we abandon the walk and call it a day or do we keep walking. Continuing the walk meant that he would soon get too restless for the pram and I would have to physically carry him for the rest of the walk to the car. I don’t know if you’ve carried a 9KG infant but they are not necessarily light. Your and arms back will not be happy.

Knowing that I was going to be one who would end carrying, I was quick to say that we should abandon the walk and call it a day. My wife initially obliged but I could tell from her body language that she wanted to continue this walk. Then in her infinite wisdom, my wife suggested that maybe we should uncover the pram shade and let him ride the pram while enjoying the view of the trees. The did the trick, the little boy’s lighted up and we enjoyed the rest of the walk without a single whimper. I guess the old saying “mama knows best” has some truth to it or my wife is a genius.

On our way home, I reflected on how if left to my own devices, with my limited knowledge, I would have denied my family a chance to have an extended walk because I was deciding without considering all the options. You see the mind’s default way of thinking is based on past experiences. You think that because something happened in the past, it’s bound to happen again in the future. This kind of thinking restricts our capacity to evaluate every new situation on its merits. Daniel Kahneman, a renown psychologist and thought leader on decision making suggests that you should defy all judgement until you have explored all options.

There you have it before you conclude, train your mind to explore all options and delay judgment until all options are considered. It’s within the options that opportunities lie.

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