Lesson – Making Decisions with One’s Heart and Mind
Learn about decisions we make, biases that can occur, and how decisions can affect ourselves and others.
The student will hear and learn and discuss various traditional stories that will give them a framework to discuss decision-making. They will take this knowledge and apply it to their own life stories. They will theorize how this knowledge can be applied to their own story.
Decisions happen constantly
Our lives are a product of the decisions made for us and the decisions we make. We make decisions constantly. What do we wear that day? What route will we take to work? Should I call someone now or later? Should I go to this party or not go? What will I do for the rest of my life? We make decisions consciously and often without truly thinking through the decision itself or considering possible outcomes of those decisions.
Decisions are made of logic and intuition
Decisions are made with logic and intuition; with our brains and our heart. This process was understood by our ancestors and shared with us through the traditional stories. These stories give us a guide to see how decisions are made and the consequences of good or bad decisions. An example is Coyote, the trickster. Coyote is a very intelligent being, but often doesn’t think through (or even care to think through) his decisions. He does things because he wants to and has no regard for others. In may Coyote stories we can clearly see the bad choices he makes and laugh at the outcomes, but can we see and learn from his story our own story?
Decisions are made of hearts and minds
Decisions are made with our hearts or our minds, an emotional process or a rational process. Ideally we make choices with both processes involved, but too often we limit ourselves to the one that seems natural to us, or the one we are told is best. We strive to make our decisions add up and feel right.
Decisions can be affected by biases
In making decisions we bring biases with us. These beliefs color our judgment and decisions. We should be aware of them and the role they can play in our decision making process. For example:
- Sometimes we selectively choose some options that we agree with and disregard others we don’t.
- Sometimes we choose the first option that looks like it might work and stop searching.
- Sometimes we are unwilling to change thought patterns we have used in the past and try new ones.
- Sometimes we practice “wishful thinking” and see things in a positive light and not for what they are.
- Sometimes we tend to see newer information as better and disregard older input.
- Sometimes we want to believe the thing that has been told to us the most and from different sources.
- Sometimes we give in to the group-peer pressure.
- Sometimes we judge the information as good or bad depending on the person or group or source and how we feel about them.
- Sometimes we see a problem as a series of small steps and use up time addressing smaller issues instead of the major one.
- Sometimes we believe we have more power or control than we really do.
Enjoy reading and listening to the traditional story Coyote and the Tree. When you have finished it, review the discussion points at the end of the story.