Are emotions wreaking havoc with your decisions?

A recent event got me thinking about the way I go about making decisions.

My dearest companion and a very beautiful accessory, my smartphone hit the ground and the impact left a dent and a small crack on the screen. No damage was done to the software or its functioning. It was working as smooth as butter. But the damn, crack was slowly becoming an eyesore for me and eating me from inside. I ‘didn’t like it’. The underline is to highlight how our feelings are at the core of all our so-called carefully thought out decisions; or so we believe.

Your likes or dislikes are the emotions which trigger the next few steps which strengthen our logic or reasoning towards making a decision. In my case, the ‘feeling’ that I didn’t like it, directed all my attention towards the disadvantages of having a smartphone with a cracked screen. I started to build a story around why I shouldn’t be moving around with a cracked screen and listed all the possible reasons for change. Inspite of my best effort to steer clear of buying a new one by countering it with equally powerful reasons to stay was of no avail. I kept getting drawn towards getting a new one. Buy I did! Drilled a hole in my pocket as well.

Hold on…. It didn’t stop there. Once I got the brand new beauty, I ‘felt good’ and ‘I liked it’. I started to now build up a new story about how it was good to have this new phone and the advantages or the benefits of trade-off.

This is what got me to think on our decision making process and how our feelings deeply influence our decision making without even we realizing it.

We tend to identify and look at the advantages or the positives of everything we like and feel good about and direct our attention to the disadvantages for that we do not like.

The scary part is that all the while we are imagining that we are making conscious and informed decisions. We are failing to see how our emotions are shaping the decision making process. As Paul Slovic talked about the affect heuristic, in which people make judgments and decisions by consulting their emotions: Do I like it?, Do I hate it? How strongly do I feel about it? In many domains of life Slovic said that people form opinions and make choices that directly express their feelings and their basic tendency to approach or avoid, often without knowing that they are doing so.

We make so many decisions in our life; about marriage, hiring a new employee, moving to a new house or city, buying things, networking and examiners who award marks to students…. If you reflect, most of the decisions are based on the ‘feel’ good or bad factor to start with. It can at times have disastrous consequences and cost you dearly in terms of health, wealth, relationships and happiness.

How do we ensure that emotions don’t wreak havoc with our decisions? I leave this for some other time.

At this moment how are you feeling? 😊

7 Toxic People You Must Avoid At Work

In an already stressful workplace where you grapple daily with deadlines, deliverables, reports, plans, reviews and meetings, it is important that you keep your sanity. This would mean that you should keep yourselves in a positive frame of mind. Easier said than done, what with so many toxic people to add to your woes. Here is a list of toxic people you must avoid at your workplace to keep things bright around you.

toxic people

Gossip monger – who is a carrier of half-truths, lies and quiet literally the news castor in your company.   The gossip monger has the uncanny knack of sucking you into their world of illusions and before you realize you are caught in their web of falsehood and lies. Just listening to their gossip may make you unwittingly a part of their story and at times become a casualty.

Narcissist – who is completely about ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘Myself’ and is always concerned about projecting himself as self-righteous and who has monopoly on the truth. He is also the one who will do anything to achieve personal success, even if it means trampling a few people on the way. They are not open to any input or feedback and believe in the adage ‘my way or the highway’ in all their transactions.

Manipulator – who would likely use information about you or the work you do for personal gains. The manipulator is one who can distort facts to get things moving in his favor. They also indulge in political behavior and are the one’s who would use your innocent sharing of information against you or for their benefit.

Cynic – is the one who can drain you of your energy and enthusiasm while doing any task. They transmit negativity wherever they go. They tell you how things won’t work out or can’t be done all the time. Such people can with their cynicism make you doubt your own abilities and can be a big drain on self-confidence.

Judgmental – are the people who are constantly judging you and the environment of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’. They are the people who have a stereotypical view of the world around them and try to impose their judgment on others.   They also judge before having complete information leading to lot of conflicts. The judgmental people are also fixated in their approach and are found to be inflexible. They see the world with the colored glasses they carry.

Arrogant – are the people who are condescending in their behavior with others. They consider others to be not as capable as they are, often ridiculing and passing snide remarks. They are the ‘know all’ of any subject and are not open to others. They move around carrying a sense of privilege .or entitlement.

Victim – is the person who is constantly projecting to you as to how the world is against him. Narrating story after story about the wrongs which are happening to him because of the office environment. They are constantly on the lookout for people who are willing to listen to their sob stories and offer their shoulder. They can at times take away a lot of your time and also manipulate your sensitive nature to derive personal benefits.