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#37: Why we all make such terrible decisions

#37: Why we all make such terrible decisions

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Welcome to another Mindf*ck Monday email, the only weekly newsletter that would do anything for love… but it won’t do that. Each week, I send you three potentially life-changing ideas to make you less of an awful person. This week, we’re talking, 1) why we make bad decisions and how we can be better, 2) what is “self-love” and why should we care, and 3) once again, I’m hiring.  

Let’s get into it!

1. Why we make terrible decisions – The past few newsletters, I’ve been discussing a lot of topics around decision-making and why we often seem so bad at it. A few weeks ago, I talked about the idea of “leverage points,” actions or behaviors that require little effort but produce outsized results, particularly over the long-term. We tend to be bad at spotting leverage points, but if you can spot them, then they can have an exponential effect on almost everything else you do. 

Last week, I talked about how, despite our best intentions, many of our efforts to improve ourselves backfire. In that email, I gave two examples. The first was that people who understand bias actually, in many cases, become more biased than people who don’t understand bias. The second example was about how introducing feedback into college courses arguably makes the quality of teaching and education worse, not better. 

Decision-making is a huge topic that would probably warrant an extremely long book to do it justice. It’s also a topic that I haven’t written much about over the years, mainly because I’ve always felt that our personal values — or, rather, how we determine what is important in our lives — largely determines our decisions. Poor values make for poor decisions. So I figured, let’s start the conversation with values. 

Implied in this idea might be, “Good values make for good decisions.” But I’ve come to believe that this isn’t necessarily true. You can have great values but still fuck things up left, right and center. As they say, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” 

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about decision-making the past couple months. Especially given the chaos and uncertainty in the world at the moment. And I ended up writing quite a long article on the topic and posted it on the site today. Check it out: 

Read: 3 Reasons Why You Make Terrible Decisions (And How to Stop)

2. What the hell is “self-love” and is it PG-13? – If you happen to spend way too much time on Instagram (please don’t), you’re probably familiar with the trend of “self-love” or “self-care” posts — usually by absurdly attractive 20-somethings sitting in a bubble bath or climbing a scenic vista, followed by the caption, “Just had to get away for a while to take care of myself. #selflove #gratitude #blessed” 

Meanwhile, their poor partner probably spent three hours taking pictures of them in thirteen poses trying to make it look as natural as possible. 

Self-love is one of those cushy self-help terms that began with a valuable idea and was quickly corrupted by people’s narcissism and has since become a thinly-veiled excuse for indulgence. “Oh, why did I spend $5,000 on spa weekends last year? You know, self-care.” Meanwhile, their retirement account is fucked. 

Self-love is not necessarily a spa retreat or a bitchin’ vacation. In fact, self-love is often not even enjoyable. Saving your money and living off ramen noodles for a year can be self-love. Going back to school can be self-love. Dropping a friend who brings out the worst in you can be self-love. 

Self-love is when you optimize your decisions based on your long-term mental and physical health. So yeah, sometimes a bubble bath or a gratuitous hike and a nice picture can be self-love. But more often, self-love is the uncomfortable, gross stuff that nobody really likes seeing and/or you don’t really like admitting to yourself.  

3. I’m hiring a video editor – Speaking of videos and decisions, I’m in the market for a professional video editor, preferably someone with experience making and marketing videos on YouTube and Facebook. 

If you or someone you know has that skill-set and has at least a couple years of experience, please get in touch with me by simply replying to this email and sending me a resume and examples of your past work. Let’s talk! 

In the meantime: Stay safe. Stay sane. Stay healthy. 

See you next week,
Mark