Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pathologically Indecisive

I have always had a tough time making decisions. I can remember being on the candy aisle at a gas station when I was oh I don't know like 8 or 9. I scanned the shelves laced with candy bars, ju ju bees, sour war heads, ring pops, and the like and being completely overwhelmed by all the possibilities. I was overstimulated and then my mom had to say those 5 words that came together to form the dreaded sentence: You can choose only one. ONE?! Shit. How am I going to make sure to choose the right one?! The one that will satisfy my sweet tooth, that spot in the stomach that is just aching for the right amount of, oh what is it, sweet, sour, creamy, nougat, caramel, chocolate, or fruity?! AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

This happened on many occasions. I am one of the most indecisive people EVER. Typically, my indecisiveness is linked with wanting to make sure others around me are pleased. I'd rather someone else be happy than myself which has, at times, made me unhappy. I know that I deserve some selfish indulgences every now and then and have been working on this ideal.
But what's really going on in my brain? I think there must be a shortage between my brain and my emotions. I can't always read myself well enough. I also like to think that I am pretty easy to please so whatever's clever, ya dig?

I was processing and checking in magazines this afternoon and when I got to NY times magazine, I started reading the interview (I usually do). This time it was with Jonah Lehrer (above. quite the hottie). He is an editor at large for Seed Magazine. He's also written for The New Yorker, Nature, the Boston Globe and is a contributer to Radio Lab and Scientific American Mind. He's the author of Proust Was A Neuroscientist. His new book is How We Decide. You can ultimately guess what grabbed my attention.

How We Decide was written by him because he feels he is pathologically indecisive and wanted to make decision making simpler. BINGO! "For the first time, neuroscience can be applied to everday life. The research on the neurotransmitter dopamine, for instance, can teach us why we play slot machines and overuse our credit cards (also another problem of mine)."

I love what Lehrer had to say to the interviewers next question or rather statement:

I: Maybe indecisiveness is the price of being an intelligent human being who understands his actions have consequesnces (something I would love to trick myself into believing).

JL: That would be a little too self-congratulatory for me. Indecisiveness means you're not listening carefully enough to your emotions, which know what you really want....(a more realistic way of understanding the decision making process)

I think what the interviewer had to say is definitely part of the decision making process. Being a rational, intelligent human means you are going to take into account the results of the decisions you make. I am, alot of times, an over-thinker which can be both good and bad. Thinking too much has gotten the better of me, but has also saved me in ways. In conclusion, I am excited about this book. I am a science nerd at heart and am fascinated by the functions of the brain. Will this book help me be less obnoxious with my indecisiveness? One can only hope.


  1. i'm indecisive too- give me the cliff notes when you're done with the book. :)

    write more on here- i love it!