When it comes to making decisions, we like to think that we are rational and logical creatures. However, the truth is that our decision making is influenced by a variety of factors, some of which we may not even be aware of.
From our emotions and past experiences to societal norms and cognitive biases, there are many forces at play that shape our choices.
In this blog post, we will explore the various factors that influence our decision making and how they play a role in the choices we make on a daily basis.”
Every now and then we realize how every decision we make comes with a consequence.
There’s a quote that got me into personal development – “We can choose our actions – but we can’t choose the consequences.”
In order words – you are free to choose but not free from the consequences. Statements like these are more like a double-edged sword.
It can work in your favour if you take advantage of it and it can also mess with your progress and results.
First, you must understand the underlying reasons that might keep you from getting what you want.
And in reality both outcomes are going to happen every now and then. But to what aspect of your life would you tolerate any level of outcome? I’ve been reflecting much on emotions such as feeling of pain, guilt, shame and disgust.
Sometimes they happen out of life challenges but many a times they come from our choices. And then it all boils down to addressing the quality of your decisions.
Where does decision making happen in the brain?
The prefrontal cortex, located at the front of the brain is the main area responsible for key decisions such as planning, decision making, and judgment. It’s also involved in controlling impulse and regulating behaviour.
The amygdala, which processes emotions, and the basal ganglia, which initiates actions, are two other regions of the brain associated with decision-making
The decisions we take lead to consequences shaping our lives which we have either desired or didn’t give much thought to.
10 Factors that Influence Our Decision Making Process
When you see people succeeding in any field – they’re either doing things differently than the average or have a different belief system.
The latter is where mindset comes into play in how we make decisions and the results we achieve.
‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.’ – Henry Ford.
So to get more desirable consequences – upgrade your thinking and mindset.
Once you work on your mindset – you make it easy to make more quality decisions and the consequences become more desirable.
This 2023, adopt a bias toward an action mindset if you want your decisions to produce more results:
2: Health choices
Apart from genetics – even more important and within your control is your lifestyle habits that impacts the outcome of your health.
Every choice of what we put in our bodies, lifestyle choices and physical activity plays a role in both our mental and physical health.
A lot of people think – you’re going to make healthier choices naturally when you get older or sick.
But without a level of consciousness its harder to think or make choices then plus you become faced with prioritizing medications over everything else.
Take for example, sleep. Poor sleep affects every part of your biology on a deep level.
Short-term consequences include:- heightened stress response, pain, depression, anxiety and cognition, memory, and performance deficits.
Long-term consequences include: weight gain, metabolic illness such as hypertension and diabetes and low level of Testosterone for men.
Wherever you give more of your time and attention – shows your priorities.
Every time I give more time and attention to social media and random information I see on the media – the level of control I feel I have of my time diminishes.
If you want more desirable outcomes then you got to give more time and attention to those things you want to see more of.
Most of these platforms and media have mastered how to keep you addicted regardless of the quality of outcome you get from them.
Also focusing on the wrong metrics leads to pain and suffering. E.g. if you’re working on your business focusing on revenue alone instead of who you’re helping will kill your business.
It’s a huge mistake young entrepreneurs make and spend years stuck in the consequences…This is a recipe for sleepless nights, being worried about incoming bills, and low fulfillment even if you achieve wealth.
4: The people around us
The people that we interact with on a daily basis have a huge impact on the choices that we make. They can influence our opinions and the way we see the world.
We’re constantly making choices of our associations daily. And the consequences are evident in what we tolerate of ourselves and how far we go in life.
Take for example – the choice of your significant other. Since they’re potentially the person you’re going to spend the most time with in life they can accelerate or deter your growth.
Once you make the decision of whom you hang around with – then you ultimately decide a certain level of outcome.
The people you surround yourself with shape who you are.
We like to think of our morals, ethics, and behaviors as entirely within our control, but the truth is we are nudged by those we spend time with. It’s why forming the right culture is vital to any team or organization
— Steve Magness (@stevemagness) January 2, 2023
5: Our Emotions
While reflecting on guilt and shame – energy levels can contribute to our emotions.
Our emotions can affect the choices that we make. When we are feeling happy, we are more likely to make positive choices.
When we are feeling sad, we are more likely to make negative choices. One minute you’re feeling all high and on top of the world with dopamine choices such as drugs, alcohol or porn – at the end of the day you’re left with such a low which you thought you didn’t really choose.
Boosting your energy levels naturally leads to achieving an attractive body with more ease and longevity in private & business.The consequences are more time for yourself, your loved ones and more fun in life.
6: Daily Habits
Tiny and little habits compounded everyday can lead to powerful consequences.
The most important tasks on your table can have the most serious consequences to your day, positive or negative. And when it comes to changing habits – there is discomfort in changing your habits.
And there is also the discomfort of tolerating the consequences of NOT changing those habits.
Take for example – Writing every day in a particular interest makes you choose to practice daily, research daily and ultimately the consequences is becoming an expert in such niche if you stick to it.
Good decision making determines the amount of leverage in your life. Good habits determine how well you capitalize on that leverage.
Said another way, your decisions determine your trajectory. Your habits determine how far you travel along that path.
— James Clear (@JamesClear) March 1, 2018
7: Our goals and values
The goals and values that we have can also affect the choices that we make.
If we value our safety or security, we may make choices that are based on that.
If we have a goal of becoming wealthy, we may make choices that are based on that.
We’re either becoming better or getting worse. The key is to live intention.
Living with intentionality means actively choosing your actions and priorities in life, rather than simply reacting to circumstances.
It’s about being present and mindful in each moment and making conscious decisions that align with your values and goals. Every choice you`ve made so far in your life or business is either propelling you towards your dream life and goals or deteriorating you away from it!
8: Our experiences
Our past experiences play a big role in the choices that we make. They can shape our beliefs and opinions.
When I saw my sister die of Cancer, nothing was going to allow me go back to taking my health for granted.
They shape the way we see the world and the choices that we make. If we have had positive or negative experiences with certain people or situations, we are more likely to make similar choices in the future.
9: Legal choices
I had a partner who quit with one foot inside and the other outside. It was tough but i discovered we had no legal backing from the start.
No one likes laws suits and court cases. But some little precautions, signed agreements and proper contracts in place for your business can prevent consequences you don’t want to deal with in the future.
10: Our environment
The environment that we are in can affect the choices that we make.
If we are in a positive environment, we are more likely to make positive choices.
If we are in a negative environment, we are more likely to make negative choices.
Your physical and mental health can both suffer if you spend a long time in a toxic environment.
How social media affect decision making
Social media can affect decision making by influencing what people focus on and pay attention to. You notice content that get the most shares and engagements become a higher priority for people and influence their decisions and actions.
How much of what you’ve seen Algorithms used by social media platforms can also affect what content is shown to users, which can in turn influence their focus and decision making.
Well, there you have it! We have explored the various factors that influence our decision making, from our emotions and past experiences to daily habits and environment.
Only when you discover how to ask for what you want through your choices can you experience a change in the direction of your desired outcome.
It’s important to be aware of these influences so that we can make informed and mindful decisions.
So the next time you are faced with a choice, take a moment to consider all of the factors at play and make a decision that aligns with your values and goals.
Remember, every choice you make today shapes your tomorrow. So choose wisely.