Editorial – July 2022: Being smart in decision-making.

July 3, 2022 | By | Reply More

Hello everyone,

I’m always a little cautious when it comes to measuring levels of smartness as there are so many assorted levels of intelligence. Where there is strength in some levels, there are invariably weaknesses in others, thus illustrating that nothing is perfect, even intelligence. If this applies to all sentient life, then we should also expect s similar situation with extra-terrestrial life.

It does raise an interesting issue as to what is being smart is all about, says the editor attributed with being a deep thinker. After all, there are so many aspects, many of which was associated with making decisions. There are invariably divided into short and long range choices. Short-term decisions can be changed or they wouldn’t be short-term. Something long-term decisions might be possible to change but there has to be some thought on what could change or influence your choices. If you want to develop indecisiveness, then that is what can paralyse decisions. Of course, you can always look at what other people have done but you have to take into account their own circumstances than follow blindly. Let’s not even discuss how media advertising and con artists manipulates the decision process…yet.

Being smart in decision-making

Being smart in decision-making

Oddly, many people rely on gut instinct, thinking it will be right all the time. In some instances, it might well work as your unconscious mind is stopping you doing some things providing you listen to yourself but it needs backing up by intellectualising to confirm the choice. Turning a choice into percentages for and against might show a better idea on which side of the fulcrum you should act. Even when you have a decision and have the time, give a few days and then go over it again. Con artists tend to try to break this mental process to force a quick decision.

If it was any good, they would wait but they don’t want you to think too much or you’d realise something was wrong. Saying that, some con tricks do rely on you thinking but in their way so don’t even think it’s a hard and fast rule. That’s the difference between a short and long con. If anything, part of the decision process is looking at how it benefits you compared to the deal offered and if the balance doesn’t look fair or too much in your favour, then its obviously not as all businesses want some cut or other.

Decision levels show a level of smartness but it also needs to be equipped with knowledge and research. I mean, how many of you check out websites you’re buying from to see what reviews they’ve had? Google or other big websites generally will point out whether a website is honest if people have passed comment on a product but even that’s proven to be easily violated with loaded reviews.

I was looking for a model kit in June and the first one triggered alarms when it insisted I live in Jersey. The second I did a proper check and got a bundle of emails confirming afterwards, grateful for the business but not taken up. Much of this is so automated that we forget much of this is done by uncaring algorithms. At least we are mostly spared return calls or at least those we can happily junk emails. The software might not have been working correctly but it reflects badly on any company when it doesn’t.

People, that’s you by the way, make decisions every day. If you can be honest with yourself on your best and worst decisions, look at any pattern you have in both, how you made the choices, were they right or wrong and what you learnt from them. Chances are, you’ve also taken into account a lot of different information as well. As much as its good to evaluate a good decision, understanding what went wrong with a bad decision is also an important learning curve.

If you’re worrying about your utility bills on direct debit, would it be easier to go back to paying monthly than relying on an algorithm that divides the year into 12, making no distinction the length of winter against the summer months and being over-charged. Companies like direct debit because they get access to your money and at the end of the year can issue rebates if they’ve taken too much, although by that time they’ve made a packet off the interest. So applying the decision-making process from the last paragraph, who actually benefits the most? Keeping home accounts is the best way to organise where your monthly bills go and when they are paid. Are we so short of time when it comes to paying bills that you want automated?

We are a species of much decision-making not to mention of habit. The fact that we can change a habit when something better comes along should never be under-estimated. It also makes for better control of your life and practicing on controlling what you do with your life. Nothing to do with IQ, just the ability to understand the decision-making process. In practice, you end up showing a level of smartness where you put a lot more thought into what you do.

Don’t think this makes me perfect. I probably make as many mistakes as anyone but I do try to learn from them. If there is one fortunate aspect my mistakes are on minor things not on the ones that can really matter.

There aren’t any set rules other than don’t rush over a decision if you’re not sure. Sleeping on it and assessing another day allows your head to go over the rationales and at least allow your intellect catch up with your emotional response. Now that does have a scientific basis because the conscious mind tends to keep less than a dozen things in the short term memory. As such, the head does tend to prioritise importance. When something is reduced in priority, it allows the brain to evaluate in a more logical way. That tends to show a bit about how the brain works in terms of urgency. There are very few decisions that are life and death but when they are, it does train your brain to assess and do the right thing. You don’t need to do that with most decisions. It creates a colder sanity.

As a type one diabetic, I’m constantly aware that a wrong decision with insulin dosage or wrong food types could have deadly consequences. I remain optimistic simply because compared to other illnesses, especially the likes of cancer, I got off lightly but I don’t treat my own health lightly neither. We get to hear of too many stories where diabetics want to act ‘normal’ with fatal consequences to learn the pitfalls to avoid. Again, the decision process is working but don’t think you can apply the process the same way on each decision other than giving yourself time to think when you need it.

Again, this is an example of decision-making in practice and we see far more where things go wrong than right. Does that mean there are far more wrong than right decisions or something more about the human condition? I tend to do along with the latter. Humans have a tendency to be attracted to disaster stories far more than happy life stories. That’s not to say they don’t read them but, given the choice, look at which ones you read first. It’s the way the mental gears tumble. However, it should go hand-in-hand with learning from it and checking you won’t make the same mistake.

As I write this editorial, the gas leak that killed a woman and blew up her house in Birmingham is still fresh in my mind but how many of you will go and check your gas detectors and make sure their batteries are still working or have enough of them? That’s only one example, there are plenty of other things across the world that needs sensible and fair decision-making that respects people’s safety than idealities that don’t represent the real world. In a literal sense, not all the choices are covered and reducing anything to a simple decision doesn’t cover everything. Our world is a lot more complex. We’ve gone past the period of simple decisions so why should any decision be made quickly without some heavy thinking and covering all the options?

As a writer, I study the decision-making process in other people because it shapes other people. Not all decision-making is the same, dependent on personality types and background. As a General Semantist, it is perplexing why some people continually make bad decisions. Then again, if they didn’t stories would be harder to write.

Thank you, take care, good night and wonder what happens when I discus intelligence. Should I be that smart?

Geoff Willmetts

editor: www.SFCrowsnest.info

A Zen thought: To care is to confound.

What Qualities Does A Geek Have: Being bloody-minded when it comes to decisions, letting intellect lead emotion, not the other way around.

The Reveal: The world is on the brink of long-time disaster but not prioritised as much as it should be for long-term survival.

Computer Observation: For those of you using Open-Shell to emulate W7’s menu system, you’re going or have had a message on screen about the 4.4.170 update. As long as your open programs are closed, it can do the update without a reboot. It does get a bit fiddly if you have programs open because although it will warn you that it can’t install, it doesn’t return to the regular screen, just with a black screen. A bit hard to real this message in that circumstance, so best to remember CTRl, ALT, DEL to get the Task Manager screen to shutdown open programs and the bottom right button to reboot, then try again. It should keep all the settings you already chosen.

Computer Observation: I’m not sure if this is applicable beyond PC laptops, but if you’ve been having problems with your scanners not responding when you plug in and end up, like I was, reinstalling the software, then you might try this, especially after a W11 update. Plug in your problem device as it reboots and the problem doesn’t happen. Paintshop Pro actually works more efficiently.

 What I would like to see as an improvement to Windows 11: When there are increments on updates, it should be proper numbers. All right, its likely to be slow over some numbers based on length of installation but far better than being slow at the 100% mark.

 Observation: Considering the number of dissections the face-hugger has had, why has no one to add it to a menu, assuming the acid for blood is neutralised when dead. I mean, it can’t be any more difficult than prepping puffer-fish.

 Observation: The real problem with the Spectrum Pursuit Vehicle (SPV) is its total dependence on its electrical systems to run the television screen when being driven. When you consider how easily the Mysterons can take over vehicles, why did Spectrum keep using it?

 Feeling Stressed: Aren’t we all?



Category: Culture

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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