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Complexities of decision making – why do we dislike change

Author: FITivate_B | Published date: November 22, 2022 | Category: Mental Wellness, Mind
decision making process
decision making process

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What goes on during decision making

The brain analyses all options before making a decision

We often question ourselves… What fruits do I want? Which one is nicer? Did I just have any of these? Do I want mangoes from Thailand or Malaysia? Why are there black spots on the fruits? These are decisions that might go through our head when cementing a decision.

What may hinder decision making?

Choice paralysis

Choice paralysis is the inability to make a timely decision as there are too many options to choose from. When we are given so many options, our brain analyses them before we make a decision, thus we tend to spend more time brooding over it.  It may also come a point in time where we are unable to conclude and settle in on a final decision, leaving everything in limbo.

Status quo bias

Status quo bias is one’s preference for things to remain the way it is, as change may bring about risks. Often times, we are afraid that by choosing something different, we might end up regretting it, causing harm or even give rise to negativity.

Common concerns associated with change

One of the common concerns associated with change is that people perceive change as an unnecessary burden. Besides that, we tend to focus our attention on associated risks instead of potential benefits when choosing a different option. This leads us to develop the fear of failing and the fear of putting in hard work to adapt to changes, which might end up at square one. Last but not least, there might be the fear of the lack in some sort of guidance or direction to follow when embarking on the change journey.

Potential Impact of Status Quo Bias

A potential impact of status quo bias is the hidden resistance where one pretends to comply while attempting to sabotage the effort to change or delay acting on the change, as the intention is to let things remain the same and not experience any modifications moving forwards.

Apart from that, status quo bias also neglects the people who are not included or have fallen through the loopholes of current policies, as the lesser involvement from others, the higher the chance that change will not occur.

Furthermore, it lowers efficiency and productivity; preventing the spirit of innovation; and ultimately extinguishing any form of progress.

Moving forward

Because status quo bias prevents us from making high-risk decisions that could be harmful to us, it provides one with the feeling of security and stability in today's rapidly changing world. Therefore, moving forward, let us consider the potential benefits rather than focusing on possible losses. Keep in mind that not all changes are bad, to keep in step with the ever-evolving world, we must change to fit in or be left out.

By : Dr Shawn Ee

BSc. BPsych. DPsych.(Clinical), Clinical Psychologist & Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist

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