Election fervour and fever has been evident for the past several weeks if not months and today is the day. Have you voted already? Although I have views about what I deem to be important when it comes to social issues, I have never been particularly active politically or overtly strong in my views but, as with any decision, I like to do some research and keep up to date with what’s going so that I feel a little more informed when it comes to making my choice.
Doing that can be a bit of a challenge in politics these days though with so many conflicting messages and what feels to me like Hobson’s Choice…! In any case, I voted a week or so ago and manoeuvring through the various parties’ representatives to get into the polling station felt similar to dodging an over-zealous sales team. I’m not sure what they hope to achieve with spruiking or how successful they are at convincing someone to change their vote at the last minute as, like many people I imagine, I had already made my decision but that doesn’t seem to stop them!
However, this article is about decisions and how we come to decisions and it’s a complex process…
Essentially decisions are about choice and we weigh up our options based on past experience as well as current information, the various pros and cons and the consequences of our choice or choices.
All of that requires effort and exhausts our energy-hungry brain. If you’ve ever made a decision when you’re tired and grumpy you might look back and realise that it’s not the best time to decide on anything, particularly anything significant. And then consider that adults make around 35,000 decisions a day … no wonder we end up with decision fatigue, particularly at the end of a busy day; what do you want for dinner? You choose!
Another interesting aspect is the Goldilocks Concept. In other words for our brain to work optimally, we need just the right amount of stress, energy, information etc and in relation to decisions and choices, when faced with too much information or too many choices we can easily feel overwhelmed and indecisive and our ability to select wisely is compromised.
A bit like choosing milk or cereal at the supermarket and also like me at the polling booth. Who are all these parties? What do they stand for? And then having to list them in order of preference …
What can we do about it? Not politics but decisions! Make sure you’re not focusing on too many things or too much information all at once because that’s overwhelming. Make important decisions first, when you have the mental energy to be objective and weigh up the alternatives, rather than when you’re physically and mentally drained.
And, most importantly, in being totally present at any given moment, notice where you are paying attention and make sure that you are attending to whatever or whoever needs it most.