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Decision. Pick 1: The Apple or the Donut? And Feel Good When You’re Done.
Madelaine Claire Weiss, LICSW, MBA, BCC -- MIndOverMatters Madelaine Claire Weiss, LICSW, MBA, BCC -- MIndOverMatters
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Washington, DC
Monday, January 17, 2022


Fast versus Slow?

To continue the conversation on Decision Making…this study I found the other day seemed to be suggesting that we feel better after we decide if we put a lot in on the front end before we decide.

This concerned me because I had been making a research-based case for quicker, less hesitant decision making as the better way to go. I was happy about all of that, because its suits my own temperament so well.

I like to say: It’s not the decision we make, but what we make of them once we have made them, that makes all the difference in our lives. So, after due, but not excessive, thought…keep it moving, get it done.

Time versus Attention

This study, exploring what it takes to feel confident in our decisions, rather than crippled with doubt and regret, tracked eye movements:

…to determine whether participants spent longer looking at one of the two products, how often their gaze shifted from left to right, and how quickly they made their decision.

That sounded to me like it was all about time spent, but then the researchers concluded:

We discovered that people are particularly likely to have a bad feeling about a decision if they introspect that they didn’t pay enough attention to comparing the different options,” Polanía says.

Okay, Yay!! As I read on, I realized they were not really singling out time spent.

They were talking about the quality of attention, and even recommended mindfulness exercises to strengthen the kind of self-awareness that allows us to feel good about our decisions once they are made, no matter how they turn out.

So, for the donut versus the apple, if we mindlessly choose the donut, we are likely to feel like dog-doo afterward.

In The Willpower Instinct, Kelly McGonigal, PhD indicates that the worse we feel about our transgression the more likely we are to do it again.

What the hey, why not, we already ate the donut, we may as well eat the whole bag. If, on the other hand, we feel we have made a conscious decision to go ahead and have that donut, we are much less likely to come out feeling bad, and less likely to finish the bag.

Feeling Bad versus Feeling Good

Turns out how we feel after we have decided matters a lot. In fact, I have heard over and over again in my work how much the fear of feeling bad afterward prevents the decision in the first place.

And of course, it’s not just about apples and donuts, or pizzas and pears—it’s about all of the 35,000 decisions we make every day, large and small, that really do shape our lives.

Maybe we can agree that if we can reduce, if not eliminate, the feeling bad afterward, with an attention tune-up, why not.

So, let’s get our minds to wander a bit less than the 70% of the time I have written about before. Let’s get better enough command over the placement of our attention to come out of decision making feeling that we actually paid due attention to it, and have no reason to feel bad.

Then, according to the apple-donut study, since we are less likely to feel bad after decisions, we will be less afraid to make decisions altogether.

And…then we will have all of the time and energy that we used to waste on hesitating before the fact, and then feeling bad after—to spend on more and better decisions to come.

Here is an earlier post on attention: It’s All About Attention (& Happiness): Yours! And please do check out the Power Breathing and other exercises in the “Complimentary…Managing Your Mind Exercises” box about halfway down on my website at https://madelaineweiss.com

Warm wishes,



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Name: Madelaine Claire Weiss
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