Decisions are the make or break for how our lives are and will end up. It’s the reason you are where you are, right now. You’ve trained to be in the job you’re in, or you haven’t and that’s also why. You’re doing well because you’ve been working hard. You’re not doing well because you don’t enjoy what you do and you’ve decided not to take decisive action. What if you had to follow rules, instead of make decisions?
It’s often misunderstood that people who get to where they are, do so because it’s naturally how they make decisions. What if was because they made rules that they needed to do x to get y?
Your brain is a big kid and you need to make rules for it to follow. Do not trust your brain to make decisions. Look at the long list of stupid decisions you’ve made in your life. Are they examples of your fine decision making? That’s ok, we all make stupid decisions but we can reduce these by making rules.
I don’t eat desert. That’s a rule. When it comes to the end of the meal and your brain wants to make a decision, it’s bound by the rule.
Think of how you want your life to be and make rules based on this. If you want to stop being fat, make rules that limit bad eating habits. If you want a better job, make rules around how you use your free time.
Rules are good
Rules allow us all to drive safely on the same side of the road. They allow us to know what’s appropriate to wear to work. It takes the thinking out of the task. The less thinking we have to do about general tasks, the more time we can dedicate to the things that matter.
Test drive it
Make a rule for a week and see how your different selves react when put in the scenario. You feel differently depending on your mood, how you’ve eaten, or how stress is at home, so give the rule a test drive and see how you feel.
Rules are made to be broken
Some occasional speeding or extending your break at work happens. It doesn’t mean you stop adhering to that rule. You get back to the rule, especially when you’re being held accountable. So tell your friends “I don’t eat desert.”
Thanks to Sendhil Mullainathan for this wonderful concept.