Everyday we each make between 2,000 and 10,000 decisions.
Most of these are carried out automatically and effortlessly without us even realising. This ‘fast’ mode of thinking is always in gear and acts like an impulsive, unconscious reflex.
When we’re faced with trickier tasks, we call on a more deliberate and logical approach. This ‘slow’ mode is the bit you think of as you: the thoughtful, purposeful, calculating voice in your head.
All seems to be in order then. We’ve evolved with two modes of thinking which work together to ensure we’re as efficient and effective as possible.
The reality, however, is that our fast and slow modes are in a near-constant state of conflict.
The sheer effort needed to repeatedly engage our slow, deliberate mode of thinking in situations of ambiguity and stress means it’s prone to cracking under the strain.
Instead of acting as a reliable enforcer of rational thought and logic, it can become overwhelmed and dominated by our automatic, unconscious impulses, all-the-while naively believing that it’s still in charge.
So what can we do about it?