Nic_C-L

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Harder Choices Matter Less

I came up with this whole thing some years ago and dubbed it the Universal Theory of Decisions' which, stated in one line, is: A decision is either easy or it doesn't matter'.

There's a corollary, though, which I've never managed to get as succinct as the first bit: If the decision isn't easy and does (seem to) matter, then you're thinking about the wrong decision. This covers the situations like getting stuck deciding which university to go to. The real decision is usually something like 'do I have enough information to make this decision?', to which the answer is No, so you just get on and get more information: no agonising required.

Someone pointed out recently that this Universal Theory of Decisions is closely related to Susan Blackmore's 'no free-will' approach outlined in The Meme Machine. Whether it is or not, I've found that the application frees up my time and mental energy to get on with things that are more productive. I do occasionally need to be reminded that I'm stressing over a decision that doesn't matter, though. But then I guess that means I'm still human.

Surely this entire discussion is based on the assumption that there is a bigger difference between men-as-a-group and women-as-a-group than between any other reasonably even division of the population (of the world or even just OB readers).

Generalising from my own experiences (which is what most people seem to be doing), I would think there was far more barrier to understanding between say, people who profess a strong religious faith and those who do not, or people whose income falls into the top 20% of the world's population, and those whose income is in the bottom 20%.

Maybe Robin should post on how to get more readers from that last group...