I am totally fascinated with the decision making process…
I think this interest sprouted after graduating from college and thinking, “crap, what now?” I researched all these possible careers and life paths and one day I was going to be a doctor the next a yoga teacher the next a neuro-scientist and the next…I joined the peace corps. I have found it really interesting to understand how I personally process all of these options and how, contrary to intuition, most of the time having all of these options can be like quicksand. It seems really great to have a million choices in every aspect of our lives-from the cereal aisle to my sexual orientation but the reality is that it causes, sometimes, a feeling of being overwhelmed and our little animal brain-freaks the hell out.
I don’t mean to get all 2012 but I think we are in a state of crisis-similar to the kind of stuff I would read about as an idealist college student and maybe….. Herman Hess was on to something in books like Steppenwolf. The over-processed, overstimulated, over-consumption that fuels our lives puts us in a state of panic and disconnects us from something that we truly are, mother fuckin animals.
There is as well, really fascinating research done on happiness. I had this idea that happiness was something you can obtain. You got it through the “choices” that you made and maybe other things too, like sweet outfits or cute hairstyles. Now, I sort of think that happiness is total bull- Not in a ‘I wear black eyeliner (though I often do) kind of way’ but I think it gives this illusion that happiness comes in some form that you have to consume when you get to some place that you aren’t at, yet. It feels like a point on a plan, like I could make some power point demonstration and say, “there it is, the illusive, Happiness.” Instead, I like the idea of contentment-it is subtle and sweeter and sticks around even when I don’t have the flossiest of digs or my perfect 9 to 5.
Here are a few gems on the topic…
2. Definitely Not the Opera- “The Big Decision”
4. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness”
5. Dan Gilbert “Why are we happy? Why aren’t we happy?”
6. Dalai Lama, “The art of Happiness”
7. Sonja Lyubomirsky, “The how of happiness”
I only included in this list things I have personally; read, watched or listened to. There is a slew of stuff out there on this topic so if you are so interested you can find loads of books and talks on why you make those little decisions that make up your day to days.
picture from opendrawer