Monday, August 30, 2010

Staying Consistent With Arbitrary Decisions

Dan Ariely in Predictably Irrational:
We decide whether or not to purchase Big Macs, smoke, run red lights, take vacations in Patagonia, listen to Tchaikovsky, slave away at doctoral dissertations, marry, have children, live in the suburbs, vote Republican, and so on. According to economic theory, we base these decisions on our fundamental values—our likes and dislikes. Could it be that the lives we have so carefully crafted are largely just a product of arbitrary coherence? Could it be that we made arbitrary decisions at some point in the past and have built our lives on them ever since, assuming that the original decisions were wise? Is that how we chose our careers, our spouses, the clothes we wear, and the way we style our hair? Were they smart decisions in the first place? Or were they partially random first imprints that have run wild?
Important questions to ask yourself.  I believe that this happens much more often than we think (and I hope to write more about it soon.)

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