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Beautiful thoughts

By on October 11, 2014
picture courtesy of David Castillo Domininici and

There are three ways to make a decision. Two of them suck and one of them is awesome. Well at least the research suggests that this is sometimes the case!

To illustrate these three ways of thinking consider an important decision you have to make, whether or not to buy a painting you just saw in a gallery. You have to decide but how? Here are three strategies you might use:

  1. Make an instant decision, without thought.
  2. Spend 10 minutes pondering how the painting will look in your home, perhaps considering where it might hang, what your neighbors might say, whether it will match your furniture, and so on.
  3. Spend 10 minutes doing something else, then decide without further ado.

Which strategy do you pick?

It turns out that the best way to make such a decision is number three. Making a snap decision has little merit, but neither does trying to make a ‘rational’ decision on an intuitive matter. It seems that the rational, conscious mind is pretty bad at deciding what factors are key in making such a decision. As a result if you use strategy 2 you will be as unhappy as if you had just made a snap decision.

By giving your unconscious mind time to ponder all the variables, then making a decision, without necessarily knowing how your unconscious mind has made that decision, provides the best outcome. Research shows that people who make decisions in this way (at least as far as intuitive matters such as choosing art is concerned), end up happiest with the decisions they have made.

Application to hypnosis

There are two ways this research can help you and your hypnosis clients.

The first is in your own decision making. If you are faced with a client issue and you are not sure what to do at that moment, the best approach is to allow your unconscious mind to ponder while you do something else, perhaps telling the client a metaphor or some other activity that will allow your unconscious mind to work.

What you don’t want to do is to make a snap decision without thought. But nor do you want to consciously ponder your next move either. The likelihood is that your conscious mind simply has insufficient information to make an informed decision, while your unconscious mind has all the information you need.

The second way of course is to allow your hypnosis client time to process when they are faced with a decision. Encourage their unconscious process, at the same time your trust your own.

For a pretty complete discussion of your unconscious mind’s decision making process, see the article below by Ap Dijksterhuis from Nijmegen University in the Netherlands.

When you are facing an important decision, others will sometimes tell you to postpone your decision and “sleep on it” first. In my case it was often my grandmother who gave me this advice… Somehow, waiting seems to help us to differentiate between the vital and the futile. Postponing a decision helps us to base our decisions on the appropriate reasons. The Beautiful Powers of Unconscious Thought

picture courtesy of David Castillo Domininici and

The CafeHypno editorial team Sarah Carson, Jess Marion, Shawn Carson

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