The great advantage of Aristotelian philosophy is its universality. Nevertheless, for everyday decisions, who has the time to check the validity of long chains of reasoning? The fact is that modern life requires instantaneous choices, professional and private. If we do not possess an effective way to deal with complexity, we run the risk of letting random events determine our priorities.
Making fast and accurate decisions in 2013
Is there a way to
simplify the thinking process without making it lose its accuracy? Can
we summarize philosophy in a brief practical guideline that can be
applied in all cases? Whatever your personal situation and constraints, I
believe that, in life, one can achieve excellent results by means of a
The principle can be stated in just one sentence:
what you need to do is to develop a clear objective for the remaining
decades of your life and then make all choices, substantial or minor, in
accordance with that goal. If you manage to get that right, chances are
that your years will become an outstanding success.
Random, inconsistent decisions do not work
is difficult to apply, but its results can be spectacular. Few people
make the effort to establish a definite direction for their life. As a
result, they lack the capacity to move consistently towards a specific
goal. In the short term, randomness can be pleasurable, but very soon,
problems begin to appear:
1. Money is wasted in useless purchases.
2. The motivation to develop specialized skills is missing.
3. Entertainment becomes an end it itself and turns quickly into boredom.
4. Projects that require long-term efforts are abandoned or not undertaken at all.
5. Erratic behaviour leads to loss of credibility.
6. Maintenance tasks are neglected or ignored.
7. In the absence of a proper perspective, excessive risks are taken.
8. Contradictory desires lead to paralysis.
9. Past decisions cannot be explained or justified.
10. In the absence of strong convictions, one cannot connect deeply with other human beings.
contrast to animals, human beings cannot let their instincts guide
their actions. While dogs and cats perceive a narrow part of reality,
our brains are aware of hundreds of interconnected details, past or
present, that are relevant in each situation. We do not have the choice
of ignoring our rational nature.
Long-term thinking is the rational answer
The refusal to think long-term
is man's attempt to become less than human. Leading an effective life
begins with the selection of rational goals that comprise the whole
lifetime of an individual. A vision that reaches into the next decades
is the most reliable tool for making optimal choices in the present.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book about how to be rational "The 10 Principles of Rational Living"
[Image by Chris_Samuel under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]