02 July 2012

You're going to rationalize anyway, so why pretend?

We so want to be making decisions in rational ways, but the evidence is to be piling up that we're not rational thinkers, just rationalizers. (Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational is one of my favorite books on the subject.)

A friend of mine recently was struggling with which law school admittance to accept. She had a gut feeling about what she wanted, but felt obligated to provide very quantitative reasons to friends and family when pressed about her decision.

We created this spreadsheet, weighting the importance of the factors in her decision and the relative value of each school in those categories.

It ended up being quite a felxible tool because weighting and the value assigned could be adjusted until it felt "right." Certainly, it's an arbitrary method, but it allows you to rationalize in a very organized way.

Feel free to save a copy of the spreadsheet and adjust so it's useful.

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