Benefits of Random Decision-Making

By on December 20, 2014 in Articles

We are well aware of the benefits of planned decision making. According to Wikipedia:

Planning give chance to the establishment of independent goals. It is a conscious and directed series of choices. 2. Planning provides a standard of measurement. It is a measurement of whether you are going towards or further away from your goal. 3. Planning converts values to action. You think twice about the plan and decide what will help advance your plan best. 4. Planning allows for limited resources to be committed in an orderly way. Always govern the use of what is limited to you. (e.g. money, time, etc.)

There is also a mountain of books and websites that aim to teach people how they can become better decision-makers in life. However, the whole exercise simply ignores the benefits and importance of random decision-making, which is what this post is all about. In the following paragraphs, you will learn how being random in our decision-making outlook is actually beneficial. Read on!

It Takes Two to Think

Most people are aware of how the brain is divided into parts or hemispheres. First, we have the logical side of the brain that seeks rationale answers after analyzing any problem that we face. However, to do so, this part of the brain has to use tremendous amounts of energy and a lot of time. The problem is that mundane activities like walking can use up this capability of the brain.

And then there is the other part of the brain that thinks intuitively in an emergency basis. However, this rapid-action thinking happens so subtly that we hardly even notice. But this part of your thinking system is responsible for most of what we think and do on a daily basis. It even takes those decisions that should ideally be in the domain of the slower, more analytical part of the brain.

However, whatever decisions are taken at random by the faster component of the brain, the slower one seeks to justify them. In other words, when we make a decision owing to our brain’s immediate response, another part of the mind goes out and invents a reason that seeks to justify that decision!

Hence, our brains are hard-wired to make random decisions. This is proven by science, and actually makes our lives easier.

Random Decisions in Everyday Situations

The economist Burton Malkiel actually used simulated monkeys to demonstrate that random decisions can help you beat the stock market, a place where unpredictability and randomness runs rampant.

Likewise, the Kantu’ subsistence farmers in Indonesia use bird divination to find new lands that are worth cultivating. In order words, if the farmers found specific set of bird species in the right numbers in any part of the forest, they would start cultivating the land. There is no connection between the birds and the land if you take a closer look. It all seems random. Yet the farmers always find fertile land.

In your personal life, random decision-making can help in making quick decisions and saving time, e.g. ordering quickly at a restaurant without much deliberation to enjoy a nice conversation with a friend or a romantic partner. Likewise, since the brain constructs reasons to support its own choices, this helps us select books, magazines, movies and TV shows easily.

Does this system work perfectly? Of course not!

In a later blog post, we will teach you how to be more comfortable with your random choices. But here it is important to realize that random-decision making makes life easier.

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