Two heads better than one?

Why is it so easy to advise someone else that that she should leave her job (or her partner) or whatever, when faced with a similar decision,  I would agonise for months (maybe years)?

Apparently, the reason is because when we make decisions for ourselves, we tend to limit ourselves to only a few options, perhaps in order to retain a (false) sense of control. Then whilst evaluating the identified options, we drill so far down into the nitty gritty, that we are soon lost in the minutiae of what might – or might not – go wrong. The end result is usually endless rounds of second guessing ourselves leading directly to perpetual procrastination and similar spurious delays. 

Yet when we make decisions for others, we are more creative and adventurous. We brainstorm on a multiplicity of possible scenarios and outcomes. Amazingly, this free flow of ideas comes without judgment, second-guessing, or overthinking. We also tend to be much more optimistic and action-oriented – do it and do it now, we advise our friend (but not ourselves).

friendly advice

The takeaway is that when faced with a decision, we would do well to act as advisors to ourselves. Instead of asking ‘what should I do’, we might ask ‘what should YOU do‘. By viewing your situation through the eyes of another, someone you admire, you gain valuable distance and perspective. You might consider outsourcing your decisions, taking advantage of a growing number of businesses and apps that make it easier for people to ‘pitch’ their own decisions about clothes, food, books, or even home décor, to us. 

Research has shown that indeed, in this context, two heads are better so now Mercury, ruler of communication and thought, has moved into Gemini, sign of the twins, why not give it a try?

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