State-Independent Decisions


Recently, I had a realisation:

If you're faced with a really difficult decision, it's important to not base your decision on your current emotional state; in other words, if you had to decide tomorrow, next week or next month, would you still make the same decision? 

The answer is no, you probably wouldn't because your emotional states are constantly and never-endingly changing – and so are your decisions.

There are two ways to make a decision: state-dependent (a decision you make based on how you currently feel) and state-independent (a decision you make, regardless of how you currently feel).

I realised most (if not all) of the worst decisions I've ever made, could have been avoided had I made them when I was state-independent.

Consider the following examples:

If you're on a low-carb diet because you're overweight and one person ridicules you and your weight, do you decide eat carbs because you're currently upset and the release of endorphins will cause a positive state change (albeit, short-term)?  

If you're in a monogamous relationship and you have a bad disagreement with your partner, do you decide to be unfaithful (if you have an opportunity to do so) because you're currently upset and you want to (un)consciously punish them?

If you're an entrepreneur and your new business isn't (currently) as profitable as you predicted in your annual forecast, do you decide to declare bankruptcy because you're currently disappointed with current income (or lack thereof)?

These are all examples of state-dependent decisions.

Your state (and especially your drive doctrine) decide your behaviour.

If you have to decide on a really important decision, wait on it (if you can), even if you're currently in a positive state (should you book a vacation you can't afford because you're currently happy?).

Consider the future consequence(s) of your decision (both positive and negative) in advance by future pacing.

Ask yourself 'If I do this, in the future, will it cause me more pain or more pleasure?'

Chances are, if you can understand, not only on an intellectual level, but on an emotional level as well that it'll cause you more pain (like the aforementioned examples), you'll be less inclined to want to do it.

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The picture is of a wicker art exhibition I saw in Brussels, Belgium.