Abundant Living Vol. VII, Issue 48

Who makes the best the decisions, those who rely on extensive analysis, or those who follow their instincts? I once had a boss, who only made decisions after studying all the data. He was an analyzer, a thinker. I on the other hand mostly make decisions from the gut. It is not that I ignore data and technical information; in fact I do generally consider it in the process. But when it comes to pulling the trigger, most of my decisions come from instinct. For the longest time I thought my boss, and now a longtime close friend, must be smarter than me because of his analytical ability. Perhaps he is smarter than me, but the fact is he made no more right decisions than me, nor fewer wrong ones than me. We simply had different ways of reaching conclusions.

Most psychological assessments are designed to inform us of our normal behavioral tendencies and our preferences in the way we respond to circumstances. Perhaps most noted among the many valid and exceptional assessments is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or MBTI which is sometimes considered the “granddaddy” of them all. The MBTI consists of four pairs of preferences or dichotomies, one preference being the opposite of the other. One of those pairs includes people who have a preference for thinking (T) versus those who have a preference for feeling (F), “thinkers” being the analytical types and “feelers” being more instinctive – neither better than the other nor necessarily requiring greater intelligence than the other. Case in point, my friend and former boss clearly qualifies as a “thinker” while I am by my own admission a “feeler” as the MBTI assessment has affirmed.

In the process of organizing, furnishing, and decorating our new home, it has been fascinating to observe how both preferences have come into play. Although Tee and I are both basically “feelers”, we nevertheless begin by “thinking”, that is developing logical ideas about how we want our home to look and function. But when it comes to pulling the trigger on a decision it is ultimately instinct that makes the final determination.

So who makes the best decisions, “thinkers” or “feelers”? The answer is both. The important thing is to (1) trust your own preference, and (2) give consideration to those whose preference is different than yours. That’s really how the best decisions are made.

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