Like anything else in life, the decision making process can be straightforward and simple or it can involve lots of factors to the point of being complicated and eventually stressing you out. Whenever, you make a big decision, especially one that involves a large investment of resources and effort, you want to feel like you’ve made the right decision. To ward off regret or avoid acknowledging that you may have made the wrong decision, you may begin to idealize the option you chose and devalue the one you rejected. This case scenario can be seen in people who express wanting change or reform for example but when all they do is ‘pay lip service’ to the subject matter. One place where this tendency can go awry is within our current political landscape. It creates rifts between people that are in the trenches ‘day in and day out,’ making a difference and those that just sit around and talk about it but take no action. Well, cognitive dissonance provides one possible explanation. In the field of psychology, cognitive dissonance is the psychological stress or mental discomfort experienced by a person who simultaneously holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values. Even if you don’t share this belief or openly express these thoughts as I just described, but the fact that you devalue a given decision or entirely reject it, will impact your feelings toward others. With some degree of certainty, it will control how you react to somebody else’s decision that differs from yours. Subsequently, you will express those sentiments in subtle ways. This wedge between people as a result of different choices can also be compounded by ignorance and inertia. One way or the other, as key players in this journey, we have to take a stance and decide in order to safeguard our views and protect our interests. Which can also lead to a thorough understanding of the decision making process. How else would we identify the bottlenecks in this process? A handful of people take great pride in being neutral. Are they really neutral or just indecisive? How would you explain the many kinks in the line of communication? And way too often, there is no room for a win-win compromise.
On the one hand, it’s useful to remember that most decisions have pros and cons, just because a choice has some downsides doesn’t mean it was wrong or it needs to be justified against other alternatives. Ignorance and inertia, on the other hand, are dangerous. Far too many people will go along with a wrong decision because they idealize the option chosen for them. Besides, it is very mentally stressful, draining, and it takes way too much work for some people to process new information and keep looking at new data.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I look forward to receiving and reading y.our input.