Schwierking: Balanced decision-making


Columnist Sam Schwierking emphasizes the importance of fusing emotion and logic when making important or trivial decisions.

Sam Schwierking

Did you know, on estimate, you make 226.7 decisions about food per day? An even higher number includes every important decision from getting married to the insignificant ones, like should I eat an apple or an orange? With so many decisions throughout a lifetime, it is important to try and make each one count.

You can do so through understanding emotional and logical decision-making. Just choosing between apples and oranges can involve decisions by itself. Am I hungry? Do I want a pomaceous apple or a citrus orange? Which type of carb do I want? It is nearly impossible to make a decision solely based on logic or emotion, but, when used together and in the correct way, you can increase the chances of making the correct and most beneficial decision going forward.

To explain further, I will use the example of one of the most seemingly difficult decisions for someone within their first 20 years of life: college. Selecting the correct college for anyone is not a small task. Not only does it involve many different factors and feelings, but it is an important hurdle into adulthood in our society. If the selection was based solely on logic, a pros and cons list would be created and this person would attend the school with the higher amount of pros. With that an issue arises: the decision has a lack of emotional connection with the school some people receive when they arrive on a campus. 

If the decision was made solely on pure emotion, the school selected might be a prestigious one, but factors can be overlooked like the amount of debt the individual is taking on. Subsequently, excluding emotion or logic when making a decision can lead you to miss factors that are important, which will cause them to get left out as seen in this example. That is why neither one is more important than the other, but it is the balance that creates clarity.

There is great importance in trying to maintain a balance between emotion and logic when making decisions. It is so easy to let emotions overflow the brain and cloud judgment to make rash and, possibly, regrettable decisions. Trust me, I know. I have been there many times. 

On the other spectrum, if logic were to rule decision-making, everything would become a decision-based algorithm that would make every choice. If these opposites are used together as one, it will lead to the most informed and best possible decision at the time.

With businesses still not being able to open and some states still having stay-at-home orders, I thought it was important to reach out with something besides what we have been talking about for months. I hope you took something away from this and can try to work on this during your time at home and with your family. So when you come back to Ames this fall we can all make better decisions together for the betterment of our community.

Sam Schwierking, sophomore in industrial engineering.