One of the major ways in which robots differ from human beings is that they make decisions based on logic, meanwhile as human beings we tend to make certain decisions with some emotions attached to them and later rationalize them with logic. For example, you will purchase an iPhone for $1k then rationalize later to yourself why you did so, saying things like; it has a good battery, its durable, its fast etc. but for a robot, it will probably go for the cheapest android phone which gives it these specs.
It's not necessarily a bad thing to attach emotions to our decisions, but in many instances, it leads us into making the wrong ones, which may lead to bigger problems down the line. This particular concept really comes to light when you consider the aspect of empathy,
if you had to choose between saving your child and losing the world or losing your child and saving the world, what will you choose?
For those who don’t have children, you may not understand this quite well but for those who do, they know already all the emotions involved and even though the right choice might seem evident, it is never the case. This example might seem a very sad one to make, but there are more practical examples of such choices in our daily lives, you have things like corruption and favoritism which plague our societies today, where you have people who choose to favor the people whom they know and are more emotionally involved with to the detriment of society in general.
One of the areas where emotions are very destructive in decisions is in the aspect of finances. You have millions of people all around the world who are stuck in a state of perpetual poverty simply because they keep making decisions based on their emotions rather than logic. You have people who earn an average income and yet spend lavishly on things which they can’t afford, it’s not because you can buy it that you can afford it, you have people who end up taking so many responsibilities upon themselves to the point of ending up becoming prisoners to all those things. There is a reason why financial education is not taught in school, that's because the wealthy don’t want everyone learning how to use money, they want to keep a consumer economy where people spend all the money they make buying things they don’t even need, thereby keeping them in that position of wealth. You are not wealthy if everybody else is wealthy, you are just normal.
We all gain an income, it doesn’t matter who you are. If you didn’t earn an income you won’t be alive right now, the question now is how you can maximize this income to earn even more, we would be able to do so if we put the emotions aside and focused on the most logical thing to do to earn more income, but we are bound to stay in the same state if we continue making the same decisions based on emotions. Are you sure you need that new shoe, are you sure you should be eating so often? Could you do with a little less data if it means you can improve on your savings?
Sure there are decisions which require us to involve emotions into them, after all we are not robots, we do have something called empathy in us after all. It’s important for us to identify what those decisions are and how best to handle them. There is no clear definition as to what those decisions are, but they can often come from time to time in different scenarios. You may be called to help a person or two occasionally, sure that isn’t quite a big deal, and you can easily do that with very little detriment to yourself, it is certain an emotional decision, but it isn’t a bad one, mostly because you won’t incur any damages from doing so. Now, on the other extreme end, do you want to perpetually be giving money to people in need? Firstly, it's going to make them dependent on you which is something you can’t sustain even if you are the richest in the world, Secondly how scalable is this, obviously the more people learn about this, the more people will want in on it and the heavier the burden will become on you. You see how an emotional decision which seemed good from the onset can quickly become bad.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t help people out there when you get the occasion, but I think there are smarter ways to help people instead of just throwing money at them. You could create opportunities, open learning centers to teach them how to fish, start a business to remunerate them for a service etc. Instead of giving money to people to make yourself feel better and important. That’s not to say we don’t need handouts from time to time but what we want more are opportunities.
How to think
Every decision you make should be done with some certain level of preparedness, you should take the time to think them through and decide accordingly, run both scenarios in your mind and vet them based on certain criteria; the importance, the pertinence, the impact, the consequences, how much of a liability or asset this is in the end. That's why experience is so valuable in decision-making, because with experience you can tell what the consequences of a decision is going to be even before you take it, but without experience on a particular subject, you are basically just playing with luck.
I don’t know what the difficult decisions are in your life, all I advise is for you to take the time to ask yourself if that's the right decision to make, or if that choice just makes you feel better.
Thanks for reading!
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