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Try thinking ‘under the radar’

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When it comes to complex decisions, it may be better to toss the pros and cons spreadsheet and switch on autopilot.

Recent research out of Radboud University Nijmegan shows that many of our best decisions are made in the absence of conscious thought.

One researcher explains, “Conscious thought is like a spotlight on a decision. It illuminates very brightly, but only a particular, narrow aspect of the problem. Unconscious thought, on the other hand, is more like a child’s night light, casting a dim light on the entire decision space without focusing in on any one particular thing.”

Obviously, conscious thought has its place. You can’t work through a math equation unconsciously. But to make a decision try thinking about it “under the radar.”

How? First, form an intention to work on a problem, and then divert attention elsewhere. Trust your unconscious to make a good decision.

— Adapted from “Too Conscious to Decide?” Kellogg Insight.

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