To Do, or Not To Do. That is the question.

NIke’s “Just Do It” is such a powerful, positive slogan.

Ah, but that it were so simple to follow. Before you can “just do it”, you have to make a decision, and is there anyone reading this who has never had difficulty making at least one decision?

Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein have written a thought provoking book called Nudge (which rhymes with fudge) that should make you think twice when making decisions, among them those concerning your finances and your medical plan. They discuss a philosophy of “libertarian paternalism” whereby “governance, public or private, [uses appropriate choice architecture] to help homo sapiens who want to make choices that improve their lives, without infringing on the liberty of others.”

What fascinates me is their concept of choice architecture, which is a system designed to gently “nudge” people to make decisions that are good for them. Turns out it is all in the phrasing of the choices, and the wording of the default position. To Opt In or Not To Opt In, that is the question, to paraphrase Hamlet.

Please check out these additional pieces about the brain and financial decision making:

  • This is Your Brain On Trading – guest blogger Dr Janice Dorn “provides an in-depth brain-based discussion of the topic” for SharpBrains.com
  • Using Your Brain – an Online NewsHour piece on “what really goes on in our heads when we make economic decisions”
  • Is my brain making me buy things I don’t need? – a howstuffworks.com article on the relationship between brain chemistry and shopping decisions; includes a list of six additional online resources, as well as a list of resources used for the article

p.s. How did I make my decision to choose this Nike movie over any of the others on youtube?

  • the music
  • the juxtaposition of the two dance styles
  • the beauty of the overall piece
  • I love to dance
  • two different dance styles as visual metaphor for two different decisions or choices
  • and in that same vein, two different dance styles as visual metaphor that different ideas can complement one another
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