Driving back home with my grand-aunt, we were having conversations about life, dealing with adversity and making key decisions that would shape one’s future. The conversation with grand-aunt was filled with precious lessons, and one that stands out for me is-
“When you are taking important decisions in your life, if you feel even a red-flag, don’t go for it!”
I was reminded of this conversation once again, when I started reading the book – Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, “The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” as part of an activity by Lean In Personal Branding led by Suba Lakshminarasimhan.
Blink is an interesting book that offers a unique narrative to how a human mind can bring as much value in the blink of an eye as in months spent on analysis. Malcolm introduces the readers to snap judgement that can be taken in seconds with limited information through – “Thin-slicing”. When I was contemplating with myself if this theory is right or wrong, I went down to my memory lane to recollect the instances where I might have applied this theory.
And the one simple instance from my routine that I could recollect was my regular commute to the office. I had to cover a brief distance by hiring an auto-rickshaw. Every time I got off the bus, I would take a quick glance at the auto-drivers and in seconds decided whom I should go with. That was me, applying the Thin-slicing theory, analyzing with the limited information I had based on the auto-drivers personality, body language and facial expressions because I was too conscious about my safety. Most of the times I was right, for I never had a bad experience except for few.
There is no right or wrong approach to this. It all depends on the data and information that is available.
“The truth is that it can. Just as we can teach ourselves to think logically and deliberately, we can also teach ourselves to make better snap judgments. The power of knowing, in that first two seconds, is not a gift given magically to a fortunate few. It is an ability that we can all cultivate for ourselves”
In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article summarizing research on human thoughts per day. It was found that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative, and 95% were exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. Just as important it is to provide relevant data to build a meaningful model with machine learning and artificial intelligence, we have to make conscious efforts to send information that can teach us in taking better snap judgments. We need to filter our thoughts to an extent that our decisions are not driven by our biases, past experiences, stereotypes etc.
“Blink is concerned with the very smallest components of our everyday lives-the content and origin of those instantaneous impressions and conclusions that spontaneously arise whenever we meet a new person or confront a complex situation or have to make a decision under conditions of stress.”
Is there an experience that you can recall, share in the comments section below.
P. S. This is my first attempt at writing a book review based on the first two chapters of the book. 😊