I sometimes wonder what influences our decisions. Why do we end up making certain decisions? while other choices are available. I tried to explore the subject, and found following 3 influencers, in that order.
Growing up, our parents, relatives and friends help us understand the world around us. Especially, parents take the responsibility of giving right values to their children. These could be religious, financial or others. For e.g. Do not waste food, overspend etc. As these come from our trusted relations, we make them part of our life. We start taking our decisions based on these values.
When we move forward in our life, especially in our adolescent and young years, we develop deeper understanding. Some of us become independent as part of being away from home for higher studies, or work. We meet new people who challenge our current values. A lot of us start re-thinking about the very values in light of new knowledge. For e.g., while we shouldn’t overspend, what exactly is overspend? While we shouldn’t waste food, but should it come at expense of upset tummy? These thoughts take root, and becomes our belief system. This system takes over our Values in our day to day decision making.
The last, and perhaps most convincing of these, is Experience. Irrespective of what others said (Values), or we thought (Beliefs), the Experience proves that while some things work, and some don’t, at least individually for us. In almost any situation, an Experience holds more weightage than the other two.
I have gone through above transition too. However, even though Experience might seem the yardstick, this is also not a sure shot way of doing right decisions. A lot of us have heard the phrase, YMMV (Your mileage may vary). It simply means your experience might differ. We live in a dynamic world. There are very few things that can be achieved by following a set of steps. I believe somehow your heart in lot of ways know what you should do. Gut feel decisions are a product of that. Again, not sure shot, but what is?