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imrainmaker's avatar

Is it the heart or head?

Asked by imrainmaker (8365points) January 28th, 2016 from iPhone

Which is the dominating factor while taking any decision in your case?

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18 Answers

msh's avatar

Wow! Great question! Nice.
Me? I have the head try to push through, but the heart always gets its say blended in. Have I made good choices? Nope. Not in every facet. But who has? Some have been inspired however.
I would have to give credit to gut feelings also. That is the strongest speaking along with my heart to the brain for to form my decisions. I have had to for most of this roller coaster ride on my wits/brain.
Two female rulers in England and Scotland. Elizabeth I, of England used brains, with a healthy dose of royal privilege and jealousy. Mary, Queen of Scots was definitely ruled by her heart, ruled by religious zealots and paramours. She paid dearly for it. Both rather wished for a spot of what the other had and experienced. A bit sad for both in the end.

LostInParadise's avatar

I like to believe it is the head, but there is a lot of psychological research that says that is not always the case, even when we are convinced otherwise.

There was an experiment where the researcher asked people to evaluate a person based on a photo, or maybe it was a writing sample. Some people were asked to hold a cup of coffee for a moment, so the researcher could get some of his papers or some such excuse. On average, the people who held the coffee cup gave a more favorable evaluation, because we associate the warmth of the coffee cup with a “warm person”.

Dan Kahneman got a Nobel prize for doing research in this area. He wrote a book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, which I have not got around to reading. I know the general idea is that we have two modes of thinking, a fast emotional one and a slower analytical one. The fast system can be very useful. If you see a movement in the grass, you may move away because it might be a snake. Of course, it may not be a snake, but there is no loss in that case, whereas moving away from a snake could save your life. Kahneman shows that there are some cases where the fast thinking system goes into overdrive and can be against our best interests.

Seek's avatar

Only my head can talk me into something, but either can talk me out of it.

Not doing things is so much easier than doing them.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

A good mix of both. Tempered logic.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Depends on the issue – some questions need a “heart” response, and some need a “head” response. Most questions need a combination of both.

I’ve had several occasions in my life where I needed to make life-changing decisions about my future. I tend to do the “head” (rational) analysis first, since it’s usually the correct way to analyze a choice.

Once or twice, several alternatives (that emerged from the rational analysis) came out to be just about even. Both options would have been ‘right’ and worked well; the question was – “which was the more right?”. I had to make a choice – I could only do one thing.

That’s when ‘head’ comes in. When the rational analysis was exhausted, then the final decision was based on feelings.

But I hasten to mention that probably 95% of my decisions are based on head, not heart. The tie breaker rarely comes into play.

thorninmud's avatar

Often neither.

The best outcomes seem to emerge from nowhere. A psychologist might call that “nowhere” the subconscious. A Buddhist might say that it is resolved in the Void. A Christian might say that God provided the answer. Maybe the most accurate way to put it is that it comes from I-don’t-know-where.

The process goes something like this: I immerse myself in the problem at hand, considering all of the factors, possible outcomes (the “head” stuff), as well as how I feel about the situation and the various possible outcomes (the “heart” stuff). This often leads me to an impasse, where I really can’t see the way forward. That’s the threshold of the Void. It’s as if all of those thoughts and feelings fade out, leaving a big, open question mark in their place.

At that point, it’s important not to become desperate for an answer. I just turn the matter over to that open emptiness. I’ve seen how this functions enough to have trust in the process. On its own time schedule, the resolution emerges without me having anything to do with it. I just “get it”, and understand the rightness of it. The rest is refinement and action.

Einstein insisted that this was how it worked for him, too: “The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it Intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don’t know how or why.”

Cruiser's avatar

I always use my head when first making a decision. I analyse every aspect of the decision I have to make and if there is room for some “human element” in my decision making process I will then review that aspect of that decision before me.

I had a really good example of this before me that started 3 years ago. I have an employee whose sole purpose is to manage the production for one customer. 4 years ago that customers sales began to decline to the point where the cost to have this (highly paid) employee was greater than the profit. My partner began to pester me to fire this employee because of this on paper loss we now were incurring. My heart won that battle as I held hope that the business with this customer would improve. What forced my heart to intervene was this employee’s whole family life depends on this job and the health insurance we provide. His son has severe epilepsy and has had to endure many brain surgeries and even with the high salary he earns as far as I know he is barely keeping up with all the medical costs. My head tells me his personal problems are his I cannot fix, my heart held hope that somehow, someway we can make things better at work to where he is no longer a loss on paper. Then fate intervened.

This past summer I had to fire my partner who managed all our production. If had fired that employee years before I would have been so royally screwed, this employee was able to step up and grab the bull by the horns and take over as production manager. We never skipped a beat with our production because of having this man still around. I have cried many times thinking on both what would have happened to this man had I actually let him go and also just how fortunate I was to have him around to immediately fill in the role my partner once did.

I have had to make some impossibly difficult decisions over the years and learned enough from my bad decisions to really think things through so I raised my odds of making the right decision and why my wife is constantly telling me to make up my mind already!

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I try to follow my head, because that’s where my brains are. But, I do listen to my heart as well; it’s not good to mute those instincts that tell me whether something’s right or wrong. If my gut feelings are giving me a bright, flashing red light, I need to take that into account.

ucme's avatar

Depends entirely on the given scenario.

filmfann's avatar

Usually the head, but sometimes I follow my heart, even when I know the result will be a train wreck.

gondwanalon's avatar

I don’t let emotions dominate and cloud my thinking before making a decision.

tinyfaery's avatar

Absolutely everything comes from the brain no matter what we call it or how we experience it.

Some people’s brains are more mushy than others.

flutherother's avatar

My head knows what my heart wants.

marinelife's avatar

Usually head with a little input from heart.

Bill1939's avatar

While I would like to believe that my head always make decisions, I know that in most situations the decision I am acting upon occurs before I have thought about it (an afterthought?). However, sometimes the subconscious is conflicted and cognitive reasoning is required.

Stinley's avatar

I’m not sure I agree with a head/heart distinction. I trust my instincts. I will puzzle over problems and leave them to stew. Often the answer will just pop out at a random moment, or when I return to the problem, I immediately forge a path to the solution. I have a strong sense of community and the greater good so if an action doesn’t benefit an individual (even myself as the individual) but will be better for the greater good then I will follow that path.

Dutchess_III's avatar

If it’s REALLY important I make pro / con columns on a piece of paper and assign a number value to each. Then I add up the numbers and that’s my answer…..unless I change my mind.

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