Friday, May 29, 2009

Complex, unconscious and emotional – moi?

David Brooks nailed it today.

The New York Times op-ed columnist gave a perfect description of how people decide about rebooting:

“When noodling over some issue – whether it’s a legal case, an essay, a math problem or a marketing strategy, people go foraging about for a unifying solution…

“The mind tries on different solutions to see if they fit. Ideas and insights bubble up from some hidden layer of intuitions and heuristics. Sometimes you feel yourself getting closer to a conclusion, and sometimes you feel yourself getting farther away. The emotions serve as guidance signals, like from a GPS, as you feel your way toward a solution.

“Then – often while you’re in the shower or after a night’s sleep – the answer comes to you. You experience a fantastic rush of pleasure that feels like a million tiny magnets suddenly clicking into alignment.

“Now your conclusion is articulate in your consciousness. You can edit it or reject it. You can go out and find precedents and principles to buttress it. But the way you get there was not a cool, rational process. It was complex, unconscious and emotional.”

OK, Brooks was not talking about rebooting. He was talking about the decision-making process used by judges, wrestling with the reality that decisions, including judicial ones, “are made by imperfect minds in ambiguous circumstances.”

But from the rebooters I’ve talked to, and from my own experience, this is how the decision to reinvent oneself is usually made. At we try to offer information and suggestions that appeal to your rational side, but we know that ultimately your decision will probably be based partly or mostly on your emotions.

So give them free rein. Your decision will be better for it.


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