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Decisions? Choices? Alternatives? Too little information? Too much information? Just how do we decide? Facing a decision? Share here.

Similar Challenges @ similar times. Identical choices to face @ identical places. Everything from what college major to choose; to when, if, & to whom you should marry; to have kids? Yes/no? How do I prepare for a future when I don't get anything -- but old? We all face similar challenges; all the time; every day of our lives. Why not share? Here!

TED has 14 talks on how to make Good Decisions. So far, I've seen talks that cover issues with marketing, healthcare, and major economic decisions involving how to improve life for all people everywhere.

If you had 50 Billion dollars, what global problems would you solve first? Economic Analysis gives a surprising set of priorities. And Global Warming is way down the list as far as "Bang for the Buck" is concerned.

Dan Gilbert says that YES we CAN synthesize our own happiness and we do so every day inside our own brains. And drugs have nothing to do with it. Also Professor Gilbert gives a more complex talk on why we make bad decisions. It would seem that we can blame evolution for that one.

Choices are hard to make. Important choices can be terrifying. We've all felt the same way when we had to choose & then face up to unintended consequences in Life! Choices-in-life? We all face 'em. Share here.

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    Jun 15 2013: So that is where I am today. I need to decide if I can withstand yet another very invasive surgical procedure, and two months of these horrible hard painful tubes sticking out of my face. The anxiety alone with them in caused me to cry daily and at one point I even had a knife in my hand wanting to cut them out myself. At this point, when the surgeon suggested this new plan, I broke down and he (like Lizannne) recommended counseling in order to gain some strength before pursuing such a long term stressful situation. The thought of waking up after the surgery and seeing these tubes again may just be more than I am willing to take. I am so tired and I really have tried so hard, but at this point I wonder if it is just god's will that this is what is to be. I have been fighting for ten years now, through 14 surgeries and have been such a burden to my husband and my mother (who should be enjoying her golden years). I will begin making phone calls on Monday to some counseling services, if for no other reason to just get some feedback about whether or not this is truly my decision to make. I don't wan't people to say I didn't do my best. But I think I am way past what my best is at this point. Lizanne, you mentioned a chat with you - I don't know how to do that. Thanks so much to both of you.
    • Jun 15 2013: Amy, I am sending you zillions of positive vibes right now!!!!!

      Simply click on my profile, and on the right, you'll see in red, 'Send Lizane Hennessey an e-mail', which will come directly into my inbox.

      Amy, what I wouldn't give to come over for that cup of coffee right now!!

      Sounds to me like you're having trouble seeing the forest for the trees right now! I'd be more than happy to lend an 'ear' and although it's a virtual one, it's attached to flesh and blood, and I would really like to talk further with you about all this!!
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        Jun 15 2013: Lizanne: Caught them!!!! Thanks!!!!!
        • Jun 15 2013: Hey, we're online at the same time! That's almost as good as having a coffee together!!
          I edited my post just now, while you were replying to it, I think!
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      Jun 15 2013: Dear Amy: Hang in there!! Never give up!!
      Janine's talk is very inspiring and I hope it can be helpful to you
      Sending you a big hug ❤
  • Jun 9 2013: If I had 50 billion dollars what global problem would I solve first? None. Money cannot solve problems. The intelligent use of money solves problems, maybe. I do not possess such knowledge alone.
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    Jun 27 2013: Information is never too much stuff, the only thing is, in my opinion, that we need to know is how to classify it, filter it, and give priority to those results obtained that may most interest us
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    Jun 24 2013: Everyone makes "higher" cognitive problem solving decisions with the prefrontal cortex (front of the brain) which receives information from throughout the body and nervous system. We make decisions based on past memories and experiences, and these experiences shape and influence how our nervous system functions. This is called "Interpersonal Neurobiology". This goes to say that relationships we share from birth and all through life, influence the way the nervous system functions, and which certain genes are expressed more than others, which ultimately emerges into our behaviours, reward systems, how we interact with others, make complex decisions, problem solve, and our capability for healthy social skills.

    Understanding this, Integration is what is key to a healthier brain, healthier relationships, and of course "good decision making". Integration is; Honouring our differences, but linking the differentiated parts together. This is key not only for a healthy brain, and relationships, but also our mindset, and the more Integration, the more rational decisions can be permitted to emerge.

    Watch Dr. Daniel Siegal on TEDTalks, he goes into this in much more depth.
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      Jun 24 2013: Thank you so much for the recommendation, but "Houston, we have a problem!".

      I searched for Dr. Daniel Siegal's video on TED & TEDtalks and got nothing. Doesn't mean it isn't there. What it means is that my browser can't make this work! Blast it!

      If you could post here again and link to the video on TED, that always helps.

      If you really like this talk, count it as one of your favorites on your profile. That way you can always reference it in any post you give (i.e. "Please see my profile for the link." ).

      Sometimes if I search for a video and can't find it. I look again a day or two later and there it will be. So if I don't hear from you, I will search again.
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        Jun 24 2013: yea sorry about that it was on TEDxBlue,

        Anyways thats the link on youtube, he's brilliant really, you'll enjoy it.
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          Jun 24 2013: I watched the full video you recommended (I watched the last 2/3 of the video 3 times to make sure I got it!). I also started another video, but it is past my bedtime. So I keep your link & watch again tomorrow. Dan Siegal is brilliant. You can really tell that he's trained as a dancer/choreographer. His gestures are fluid, expressive, and consistent, like a spoken language of their own. His voice has a measured timbre such that the intonation itself contains additional meaning. And it isn't hard at all to intuitively feel the content of his understanding. I'll bet he can be living hell on graduate students. True Artists have that characteristic.

          Huey Freeman, we've just met and you know me so very well! Thank you.
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      Jun 22 2013: .
      You are right!

      This is because we have:
      (1) "Too little information " on valid happiness.
      (2) "Too much information" on invalid (harmful) happiness.

      (from Be Happy Validly!)
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    Jun 16 2013: I don't recall seeing a TED comment site so dominated by one member as this one is by Juan Valdez. Is he a moderator or just overflowing with enthusiasm? For me it is distressing. We are limited to characters in our remarks, shouldn't individual contributors be limited in their posts?
    So it is in this mood of slight annoyance that I enter my 2nd comment.
    Where on earth is the importance of evaluating our own decision process in public? Any focus on each of us almost always results in trivial opinions that are more appropriate for the other social media chat and video arenas.
    It is our group decisions, our national and global ones that need attention.
    Sometimes TED becomes a little too psychoanalytical, speakers telling us the significance of body gestures, building and maintaining confidence, achieving inner happiness, and presumably other self-help rhetoric that I must have missed.
    My friends, and assuredly TED has magnificently created an ambiance of camaraderie, let us join in trying to persuade TED to prevent a single member from excessive comments, except the moderator of the topic; let us express our preference for new knowledge that will benefit our societies rather than silly personal advice.
    I'm not referring to those speakers who relate their overcoming huge challenges, for those are truly inspiring and encouraging with broad impact.
    I suggest that the best advice for personal decision-making comes from our grandmothers for it is they who have monitored the events of everyone in the family. Psychologists are strangers, I refrain from using charlatans, who know nothing about us and waste our time as they drag us back to age zero. TED's objective is sharing ideas that can improve the world, I think we all know the 'Me' generation, added very little to that endeavour.
  • Jun 13 2013: I feel its more about filtering out the unimportant ones
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      Jun 13 2013: Yeah! Very few of the decisions I make every day are important. Most are generally trivial. They don't mean much to anyone but me!

      But for those few important decisions, -- you stay awake at night thinking and thinking. Critical decisions are tough!
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    Jun 10 2013: Simply put, we shouldn't beat ourselves up over every decision that we make that doesn't turn out to be the right one or hat makes us worry that we could have made a better decision.
    Yes, we have a fairly short time in this earth and yes, we do have quite a substantial amount if decisions to make, but that's just all the more reason to not get too upset about mistakes made and to not get too overwhelmed about decisions that need to be made. Whether it is deciding on what to major in college or picking what color swim suit to get, stressing too much about it is just unnecessary anxiety.
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      Jun 10 2013: I agree. Life is too short for that!

      We all need to learn how to make our own happiness. And once we have done that, we just need to do it!
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    Jun 10 2013: Always trust what feels right to you. If it is not clear than you should try to find an alternative or abandon whatever is putting in a position that you must make a decision. If you cannot make a clear decision then you might not be ready for any results that might transpire from it and it couldl make you unhappy. Like choosing a college major, maybe you need a year to reevaluate what you want to do.
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      Jun 10 2013: Raymond, your profile identifies you as a man of distinction. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.

      "Always trust what feels right to you." That's the best thing I've heard on TED in a while!!

      I cannot remember what TED talk it was that brought this up, but I am reasonably sure it was one of the ten talks by men listed above. One of the bald guys, I think (I am going bald so there may be a bias there). But what was said, was something I have always known. Apparently, there is a significant amount of scientific research that proves your statement - "Always trust what feels right to you."

      Or more importantly: "Always AVOID what does NOT feel right to you!" That statement has two parts to it. And it's the part about NOT doing something that feels wrong . . . that (I believe) can save your life.
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      • Jun 10 2013: Hahaha, Juan, you are forgiven for flooding my inbox! It was more a tiny leak than a flood, though. ;)

        I know exactly what you mean about the "Vulcan Mind Meld" experience. I get it often here. A case of like-minds, of synchronicity. More proof of how interconnected we are! It's not just you!!
      • Jun 10 2013: I don't know... you'd be surprised how many sci-fi geeks like us are out there, Juan! I knew exactly what you meant. George called it 'the force', and he wasn't wrong.

        Sounds like an excellent plan, Juan. I am all for it!
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          Jun 10 2013: What a great privilege -- to know that I am so well supervised here on TED! That may sound like a sarcastic statement, except for the FACTS! Fact is, if you are doing or learning something that is important, you appreciate 'supervision.' Here is an example:

          If you are learning to be a fireman, you have to get it RIGHT. If you don't, you die. And others may die with you. Therefore, you get the crap kicked out of you in training. Because when the chips are down, you have one chance and one chance only to get it RIGHT! So get it RIGHT! And Right the FIRST time! Doctors, soldiers, paramedics, adventure sportsmen, ICU nurses; explorers -- they all know exactly what I am talking about here.

          I find sometimes that I think of TED that way . . . I wonder why? But I am motivated to get it right!
      • Jun 11 2013: Wow, I had not even considered this, Juan. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

        Making a mistake could cost lives, if you are a lifesaver. The list you mentioned are all enormous risk-takers, who not only risk their own lives but others as well, if they should make a mistake. The tolerance is zero.

        Motivation to get something right, understanding material, delving into oneself for questions and answers, that's what binds us all!
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          Jun 11 2013: To your astute comments, I shall respond in a way that I have not -- since the 1970's:
          "Right On!"
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    Jun 10 2013: Sometimes too much information leads to confusion and too many choices could fuel indecision.
    So, in making decisions, information is good; but only helpful information, the sort that empowers, is good.
    And you gotta decide; waiting for some perfect time or moment or condition would probably keep one waiting till the 90th birthday.
  • Jun 9 2013: Making a decision,choice from many alternative is not difficult when a person makes decisions based on what he actually loves to do. But, as we human beings are easily influenced by the external factors, like the pressure of peers, pressure of society. We are more concerned about our peers, and the society, that , If i choose this or that what would my peers would say of what would the society feel about me. And sometimes the contradictory research reports of so called experts also creates confusion.Take for example. some times the researchers say coffee is good for health and sometimes say coffee is bad for health. And they keep on alternating their research.
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    Jun 9 2013: Expand your education as broadly as possible. The more you know, the easier the decision. Too many rely on back-fence and diner chatter where most pretend to be informed in order to dominate conversations to appear wiser that they are.
  • Jun 8 2013: I personallybelieve that one has to take responsibility for one's own decisions, good or bad. I feel that education plays a big role; the more information one has, perhaps the wiser the decision. I.E. if I had known more of basic psychology, perhaps I might not have made the most devastating choice in my life's partner. Increased knowledge might have prevented me from becoming entangled with someone hving all the (hidden?) symptoms of psychosis. Without this knowledge, even the wisest among us are likely to fall prey. On the other hand, I think back a generation or two ago when one's professional choice was limited to what one's ancestors did. Was that not much easier, less time consuming and effective. After all, we had been well trained in this area from birth. Another important factor...decisions should NOT be made based wholly on selfish reasons, i.e. the so-called ruling/powerful plutocrats are so selfishly single-minded that they cannot grasp that after they have glomed up all that the rest of us give them (taxes), then what? Who will remain to feed their insatiable thirsts? Interesting dialog and ponderings.
  • Jun 8 2013: The priority of the problems are different for each country in my opinion. For the Netherlands I'd say the first priority should be to take control of overhead costs Not by budget cuts but by creating a lean and mean government and by getting unemployed people back involved in society. Unemployment rates are incredibly high but we are short on teachers, nurses and affordable daycare so re-structuring the system and empower people to take responsibility for society as a whole would be a tremendous step forward.

    Then I'd say education because innovation becomes increasingly important so instead of numbing their brains and teaching them that asking questions or making mistakes is a bad thing, it's time we teach them how to be creative, collaborate and live with respect for themselves and others.

    Healthcare would be next. I still find it odd that I can rent a great Hotel room for 100 euros, but a hospital bed costs me 200 euro's a night?... The hotel room comes with room service but a nurse costs extra... hmmm

    So we'll have 50B left which I suggest we invest in innovation centers. Much to gain from further developing nano technology, dna manipulation etc. Imagine how much time you can spend on creative arts, space travel or just socializing when we all have a 3d printer that can print anything from food to your personally designed transportation by using nano technology and the elements as a cardridge. That would leave 95% of the planet unemployed, but nobody hungry or homeless. But now I'm getting carried away. ;-)
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    Jun 7 2013: I chose accordingly to the laws of physics. This pretty much narrows it down.
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        Jun 7 2013: On my own with my decisions, yes, but only in those universes where my wife allows it.
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          Jun 7 2013: Does your wife know my wife? That sounds really familiar to me! And the older I get, the better it all sounds to me. Just do what she says. That's the secret to a happy marriage. And if you want to do something else, make an excuse and go do it.
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    Jun 30 2013: Sadly Juan, 50 billion wouldn't even get us started. :-) I think a large portion of the choices we make every day are the wrong ones, yet we lie to ourselves or ignore the consequences because of the innate propensity we humans have to be governed by our emotions or personal motives. I've made several bad choices already this morning. I took the toll road instead of side roads to work because it was faster instead of saving money, I ate that egg mcmuffin, hashbrown and OJ instead of the bagel, etc. Unfortunatley, this applies to our national-level decision-makers as well. Instead of focusing on issues objectively, politicians are influenced by their party affiliation and voters to make decisions that may not always be the "right" decision.
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    Jun 29 2013: That's a good question and fascinating talks related to it:

    My simplistic rule is - good or bad. Is my decision good or bad? There's a flip to it - good for whom? For what? it may be dfificult to answer as life is complicated. the world is changing fast, History will judge whether this decision is good, either history in my closest family, in the community, and globally. Personally, I have to say that it's difficult to make decisions. To like something on facebook is one thing (a feeling that makes you like something) but if you analise why you like it and what the consequences may be, it's difficult.

    "We should have preferences that lead us into one future over another. But when those preferences drive us too hard and too fast because we have overrated the difference between these futures, we are at risk. When our ambition is bounded, it leads us to work joyfully. When our ambition is unbounded, it leads us to lie, to cheat, to steal, to hurt others, to sacrifice things of real value. When our fears are bounded, we're prudent; we're cautious; we're thoughtful. When our fears are unbounded and overblown, we're reckless, and we're cowardly.

    The lesson I want to leave you with from these data is that our longings and our worries are both to some degree overblown, because we have within us the capacity to manufacture the very commodity we are constantly chasing when we choose experience.
    Thank you. "

    I just think that when it comes to the "future" mentioned in this talk, the preference should be simple - happiness for everybody, possibilities, individualism. And, to add a point that I've made here before - all that without hurting anybody.

    I liked all the talks in some way and the thing I would like to point out is this - paradigm. It influences the choice.
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      Jun 29 2013: Thanks to Mary M., as demonstrated below; I found the talk.
      • Jul 1 2013: Oh Juan, Juan.......she was quoting from this TED talk:

        How could you not have known that?
        Don't you memorize the talks like the rest of us to quote from them at random?

        So, go ahead, ask me how I found the talk..........because there is a super fast way.....I learned it from a TED staff member in one of our conversations last year.
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          Jul 1 2013: To quote you dear Mary M: "So, go ahead, ask me how I found the talk..........because there is a super fast way.....I learned it from a TED staff member . . . "

          Please do share. I await this revelation, attendant to your divine wisdom! Please share.
      • Jul 1 2013: Here is the link to the conversation hosted by a TED staff member.

        She taught us that if you remember certain words from a talk, you can go to Google, and type the words you remember in between quotation marks, then type talk on after wards, and the TED talks containing these words will pop up.

        This is what I typed on Google:

        "The lesson I want to leave you with from these data is that our longings" talk on

        And BINGO.......Dan Gilbert's talk comes up.

        Isn't that a neat trick?

        I have used it many times when looking for old talks, and also for helping other TEDsters find talks.

        I wish the divine wisdom was mine.......but alas, it is just another idea from the great TED site.
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          Jul 1 2013: Quoting here: "I wish the divine wisdom was mine.......but alas, it is just another idea from the great TED site."

          Mary, you have offered a very slight distinction; without a hint of a difference. And both TED, and all of us who remain, would suffer interminably w/o your divine presence & remarkable grace. And thank you. JV
      • Jul 2 2013: Well, I suppose that my presence and grace is a reflection of yours dear Juan.....and of so many others on here who indulge my whimsical ramblings....although at times I have been known to provide a link or two that are upbuilding and worthy of spreading.

        From now on you will be able to help me carry the burden of additional knowledge and ideas of finding TED talks.........and you will pay it forward?

        Have a beautiful week..............Cheers!!! (taps steaming coffee mug on computer....)

        [edited spelling]
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          Jul 2 2013: Shall pay it forward . . . willco. Git 'er done! Pay it Forward! Kevin Spacey. Mary, you are an inspiration to all. JV
  • Jun 29 2013: Follow the facts,follow your heart.
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      Jun 29 2013: I have two rules for that:

      1) Know the facts; always give the facts priority -

      2) Know your own heart; you can't make even a reasonable decision (much less an important one) w/o that!

      3) Never let things get 'personal.' Save that for when it's dark; and you know it's totally safe.

      Wait! That's 3? Well, who cares if I can't count.
  • Jun 28 2013: if I had 50 billion dollars i'd be as rich as bill gates. i'd go buy my own island or continent or something and set up my own country where people could do what they want. that is my decision. now give me the money.
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      Jun 29 2013: If they gave you that much money, could you spare some for me? I need [at least a better] job.
  • Jun 27 2013: Hi Juan. My comment was in reference to the original text vs. audio-video.
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      Jun 27 2013: Quote: First of all, here's what students think is going to happen. They think they're going to maybe come to like the picture they chose a little more than the one they left behind, but these are not statistically significant differences. It's a very small increase, and it doesn't much matter whether they were in the reversible or irreversible condition.
      Wrong-o. Bad simulators. Because here's what's really happening. Both right before the swap and five days later, people who are stuck with that picture, who have no choice, who can never change their mind, like it a lot! And people who are deliberating -- "Should I return it? Have I gotten the right one? Maybe this isn't the good one? Maybe I left the good one?" -- have killed themselves. They don't like their picture, and in fact even after the opportunity to swap has expired, they still don't like their picture. Why? Because the reversible condition is not conducive to the synthesis of happiness. End Quote.

      I think Dan Gilbert misspoke. The transcript matches the context. Please add your comment to the comments section that follows the video on the TED web site. I have heard that the Presenters (Professor Gilbert) do read the comments on their presentation. And occasionally they reply to comments. I do believe that Professor Gilbert will respond to your correction. Or you can email TED
  • Jun 27 2013: In the paragraph that begins with "Wrong-o. ... Why? Because the reversible condition is not conducive to the synthesis of happiness." Please note that in the audio/video presentation, Dan Gilbert says IRREVERSIBLE condition
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      Jun 27 2013: I went back through my last 100 comments on TED & there was no "Wrong-o" comment from me. I may have deleted such a comment because it MIGHT have been construed as inappropriate. So, unfortunately, I am clue-less as to exactly what this might refer to.
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      Jun 22 2013: Yes. That's it. Isn't 'choice' a decision on an action or outcome? If we 'choose' but take no action - see no alternate result, it's merely mental and verbal exercise, an impotent and generally useless activity. "I'm going to do this or that", but never do it. "I'm going to change this or that", but nothing changes. "I believe this or that", but our actions speak otherwise. Now the flip side is that we choose and change, then face the result. Often our 'change' falls short of the 'ideal' we originally had, or our 'choice' leads to a 'change' beyond our expectations. But it seems it does come down to the necessity of 'will'. If there is no will to affect the choice, then the 'choice' is moot. Cheers!
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    Jun 22 2013: I wonder if choice comes down to 'will'. I can 'choose' something, it can make sense in my head, but do I really 'will' it to be so? If we, then, do not carry out our 'choice' to the end through our will, have we chosen?
  • Jun 21 2013: I wrote a universal decision making app for Windows 8. Pleas give it a try
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    Jun 15 2013: Amy, I cannot imagine the kind of challenge you are facing right now. Even my imagination won't take me anywhere near the place where you must be -- to face such a challenging set of choices.

    I offer you here my prayers, my best wishes, and my most sincere hopes. And I offer you more of same on behalf of my family. I really do. We will all keep you in our thoughts.

    Late note: I lit a father's day candle for my Dad in church today. But Amy Winn got her share of prayer time as well. Prayer counts. Prayer matters. And although many do not thinks so or agree w/me . . . prayer can change things. I believe it Amy. I do.

    If an Atheist/Agnostic wants to offer me an alternative to that, I'll listen. But to me, prayer beats hell out of a "Get Well Card." Cards & notes are very important to the suffering & those faced with difficult challenges. But a statement of unity & strength & solidarity with the suffering of even one other human being -- even by a prayer! That MUST have value in this world. And what you do or do not believe about god has very little to do with it in the end. We stand together when we join our thoughts and hearts together. And prayer plays a big role in that. It does.

    But I'll leave room here for anyone who wishes to differ w/me on that opinion. I'd like to hear from 'ya.
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    Jun 12 2013: I've spent the last decade trying to sustain the rumor that Donald Rumsfeld spent two years confinement at the federal maximum security prison in Butner North Carolina for obstruction of justice . . . or maybe I just want to start the rumor . . .

    But the unknown/unknowns are always there. And dealing with those requires two things: 1) Vigilance, and 2) Courage. It is said that "Eternal Vigilance is the price of freedom." You just have to pay attention to protect yourself. That's the risk of the Unknown. And Courage is always part of every decision we make -- where we have to act upon incomplete or potentially inaccurate information.

    And the most consistent observation I have made thus far is quite simple. Even an obviously BAD decision creating misery for everyone, iS often much preferable to making NO DECISION. The consequences of making a bad decision can often be corrected or repaired. But making no decision can destroy everything.
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    Jun 10 2013: Sometimes too much information leads to confusion and too many choices could fuel indecision.
    So, in making decisions, information is good; but only helpful information, the sort that empowers, is good.
    And you gotta decide; waiting for some perfect time or moment or condition would probably keep one waiting till the 90th birthday.
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    Jun 10 2013: Sometimes too much information leads to confusion and too many choices could fuel indecision.
    So, in making decisions, information is good; but only helpful information, the sort that empowers, is good.
    And you gotta decide; waiting for some perfect time or moment or condition would probably keep one waiting till the 90th birthday.
  • Jun 9 2013: Juan,
    if there's one thing that binds us all, it's that our lives are full of these paths we take, that have led us to this point in time. Our emotions often play a big role in choosing a path, sometimes a path is chosen for us, sometimes we leave the paths for what they are and just stay put.
    A friend of mine, who is an inspirational speaker, once told me to "take advantage of your crossroads". Since then, the paths I thought were going straight ahead of me, possibly with a fork or two in them, are literally strewn with crossroads, each one as unknown and utterly exciting as the one previously.
    As someone with really no concept of regret, my decision-making has always been pretty impulsive. Now, as a Mom, a wife, and an official grown-up, most decisions are done in the team, but those crossroads are always out there to explore., not just for me, but for all four of us.
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      • Jun 10 2013: Oh, the innocence of the classic film industry...! Life imitating art, imitating life. All the world's a stage.
        This convo is related to some extent to Questions First's, "Why are we afraid to make mistakes"?

        When the choices presented before us are too overwhelming, we can get flustered, worried about where that path may lead us, and fear takes over, clouding our judgement.
        But I am convinced, if we allow fear to rule our decisions, we will get exactly nowhere.

        Conscious decision-making, in full awareness of the consequences/benefits, and no regrets is how I decide to live.

        All the best to you to, Juan!
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          Jun 10 2013: Thanks for the link. And thank you for your wonderful contributions to TED. TED is one of the most valued and valuable sources of information on the internet. And you should be quite proud to be part of that. I know that w/the right skill set, I would be very proud and even honored to contribute to TED. Thank you for helping make TED possible.
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          Jun 14 2013: Hi Lizanne, your comment on making decisions caught my eye, as I am facing one right now. I have had extensive surgery to reconstruct my face after tumor removal. Unfortunately, my second nose was rejected, and it turned black and then fell off (this is not the bad part). So, a rib and the backs of my ears were removed to create a new nose, with a forehead flap used as replacement skin. The surgeries were painful and the recovery was long. Now here's the bad part, the scar tissue resulting from the new nose is blocking my airways. I feel like I am suffocating and wake up gasping for air everyday. As the scar tissue progresses, it will block my airway and I will either have a stoke of simply die in my sleep. I have had seven surgeries in an effort to create new airways (something that will prevent me from suffocating in my sleep), all to no avail. My face is collapsing and I am now faced with the great big decision to undergo yet another very extensive, very painful and long term treatment, or risk the chance of suffocation. (I remember a time long ago when my biggest decision was what flavor to have in my morning coffee. ) Like you, I am a mother and a wife, so I kind of feel obligated on this, and pressured by the family, (many surgery decisions were based on the premise that I owed it to my family) although I don't wish to go through with it. Seems like and easy answer - just do it right? ....on the other hand it will be extremely expensive and a burden to those taking care of me. Now the decision - I wonder if it is just god's plan for me, after all I did fight the good fight, undergoing a total of 14 surgeries, and chemotherapy. Should more be expected of me, or is this my decision to make. The path in front of me has a fork, and I don't like either direction. Is it my decision to move forward either way? It is confusing, and emotional and I have read your comments on many issues and would love to hear your comment on this one.
      • Jun 15 2013: Amy, I just read your story, and am filled with all kinds of emotions about it!!!

        I can't help but think, there MUST be other options for you!!! Have you thought about or received a second opinion? Suffocating is NOT an option! Neither is more invasive surgery - at one point, your body and mind has taken all it can take! I have had multiple surgeries on my knee, and when I finally decided to let it go and accept it as it was, in the knowledge it would only get worse, I admit some people thought I had 'given up'. However, my condition was, and is, in no way life-threatening! I can manage with a broken knee, but my dear Amy, you need to be able to breathe!!!

        Wow, on the other hand, it seems like you have made your decision, it's just a question of informing your family, who, naturally, are putting that pressure on you because they love you to pieces!

        I see very clearly how this feels like the biggest fork in the road you'll ever encounter.
        Have you thought about therapy, to work out what it is you really want? You remind me a lot of me - my decision-making is often influenced by others, especially when it concerns my own life... You spoke about being 'a burden', and that 'more should be expected of you'. Perhaps those external influences are clouding your own judgement? I can understand that! Like I say, your family wants you to be around, they are willing to do whatever it takes! I wonder, however, if they understand if YOU are willing to go that far...

        It's a matter of weighing options, the pros and cons, talking openly about this with your family. Judging by what you've said, it sounds like you need support from your family to do what YOU feel is right. Only you can judge what your body can handle, and it's been through so much already...!

        Which brings me back to other options...
        Would the purpose of operation be to remove the scar tissue so you can breathe easier again?
        I wonder if the scar tissue wouldn't just come back?
        oops, out of characters...
      • Jun 15 2013: Continued...!

        About the scar tissue, that's the case with me knee - your body will want to fix and protect that part of itself, it really doesn't know or care about the fact that it's obstructing your breathing!!
        Ok, so if it were removed, and you can breathe easily again, what are the options. What about a prosthetic nose, instead of more surgery to make a new one?

        I can imagine how confusing this must be for you!!! My advice right now - make a list, on your own, by yourself. Reflect on what is MOST important to YOU. Write everything down, no editing! Purge your thoughts. If you want, you are welcome to share them with me (via private message, if you want!) I would really love to help you with this - although it is a decision only you can make, Amy, you are NOT alone in making it!!!

        Much strength!
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          Jun 15 2013: Hi Again Lizanne and Juan: First let me thank you both for the love and concern. As far as options let me assure you that I have really done my research on this. I have been to some of the very best plastic and reconstructive surgeons both on PA and NJ. I was rejected by the chief plastic surgeon of the University of Pennsylvania (Oren Friedman), because of the complicity of my case. First, there is the extensive scar tissue that we discussed, then there is the autoimmune factor which is a result of the chemo, then there is yet another factor called warm auto immune hemolytic anemia, which is an antibody that is in remission. The amount of antibiotics necessary for a surgical recovery could jeopardize my remission, and bring back the antibody, which may cause me to die. So although I did find some wonderful surgeons out there, none would take my case. I then saw a show on Discovery Health Network which focused on a surgeon by the name of McKay McKinnon who does complicated and risky surgeries that no other doctor will touch. I wrote to him and he agreed to see me, but he is in Chicago. So I packed my bags and went to Chicago in Feb. to meet with him. When he examined me, he found that the scar tissue has grown from the nose, through the sinuses and attached itself to my palet, causing the beginning of a frozen mouth and speech slurring. I returned to New Jersey and in March had a portion of my upper palet removed to free the tissue from taking over. I also had something called "trumpets" installed which went from the outer nose all the way to the throat. I had to feed myself with a catheter and the pain and stress was unbearable. They were removed five weeks ago, and within two weeks I suffered a 90% collapse of the sinus cavity and an immediate build up of scar tissue. That is where I am today. I need to figure out if I have the strength to put the trumpets back in for a period of 8 weeks - with pain, total isolation and no food, or stop the madness. pt. 2..
  • Jun 9 2013: It can be difficult to distinguish between correct information and manipulation. I personally try to question all my beliefs and sourses of information.
    Question everything, assume nothing.
  • Jun 9 2013: In your example of government leaders, perhaps you now have gained much more knowledge than earlier and thus would make better decision based on this knowledge?
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        Jun 11 2013: This is a big problem today. People are afraid to trust anyone. Ah, democracy at is menace to society. We have become too competitive, too individualized, and too untrustworthy. People die in hospitals because they do not have enough money to keep themselves alive. Trust me, I just witnessed a court case last week. Can you even trust hospitals today? Well, I assume your chances are better if you do, better have money though. It's all about what can I do to make money. If I'm not making money in these hard times I'm afraid I will have nothing. Therefor, nothing can be free or for good intentions. A vicious cycle.
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    Jun 7 2013: Decisions, Decisions, Decisions . . .
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      Jun 7 2013: You're underestimating the complexity of our social behaviour, the countless decisions we evolved to handle the best we could.
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        Jun 7 2013: True, but reading, writing, ciphering (math) and so forth were (either) impossible (or available only to a select few). So a great many decisions available after the advent of both civilization and mandatory education, just did not exist. Just think about how complex it can be just to decide what to watch on cable TV. When I was a kid, we only had three channels. Then they added another. That was the "rerun channel" where we got to watch Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, and Bewitched -- 5 nights a week. And on the major networks, one or more would show movies after 9 pm/ 8 central at least 3 nights a week.

        In my area, Basic Cable has 69 channels plus 6 or so PBS/C-SPAN digital channels. It's all a lot more complex today. And most of it is still crap!
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          Jun 7 2013: And how about the choice of who to have children with! So many options, so little time.
  • Jun 6 2013: Hey man, this TED thing is very limited in what you can say in one post. I found your post surprisingly insulting. I lost you so I must be a mixed up artifact? You are the ultimate authority? Do you think it's easy to communicate abstractions? I don't even try that with people who show me they are not ready for that. Sorry, I assumed more of you. You couldn't be specific where I lost you and ask for a clarification? Or at least just leave it politely at I lost you? I didn't think I was asking anything OF YOU personally. I appreciated your constructive advice and thought out loud in a post about how what you told me about Stratfor may be coincidentally significant to how I see things--I forgot for a moment you can put 25 years of free thinking into a dialog. Sorry. And how do you know I haven't already looked at Hawking. He has prejudiced the world into seeing spheres that give the universe all its motion as 2 dimensional "holes" that are "black". Now someone has to un-prejudice the world into thinking in 3-D and that color is irrelevant where there is absence of light. It was nice talking with you (for a few minutes anyway). .
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      • Jun 7 2013: I was offended because you completely changed your helpful and cooperative tone to one of contentiousness where you gave me a flippant psychoanalysis that was not flattering at all. At that, I already asked why you couldn't have left it that I lost you without the apparent ridicule. Sorry but the damage is done. I wouldn't do that to someone here--telling them they sound deprived and what have you. This is rhetorical. I no longer want an answer. I could turn around an criticize you for your response going off on AI as if that was a context we had pre-established which it isn't. But I don't come here to do battle.
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    Jun 6 2013: You cannot abstract the notion of decision.

    All decision is in relation to a self.

    Before your question has any meaning whatsoever - please tell me - decision for what or for whom?

    If you are talking about your own decision that is very different to talking about a decision for your community - what are you talking about here?
  • Jun 6 2013: Geez, I really only need about $20 million to get the world changed. It will take a few years. Well hell, why not, I'll take the $50 billion. And Bjorn Lomborg would be someone I'd want to see. I saw his movie "Cool It" and I have ideas and knowledge that could synergize with his efforts. I have been around the "sustainable development movement" since its beginning and tried to get funded to produce an interactive documentary on the Earth Summit which was held in 1992. It's kinda where "global warming" made an entrance on the world stage. Actually the conference was supposed to be about a global operating principle to replace the Cold War Super-power stand-off of the previous 40 years but America seemed to want no part of playing much less leading unfortunately. I didn't get my funding, I didn't produce the first bit of digital journalism for the emerging CD "edu-tainment market", the "edu-tainment" market failed because it put more money into "Butterflies of the World" than let's use our new mdium to illuminate the world's most important information. It's not too late. Mr. Lomborg's movie has been very informative as to what has and hasn't happened in the 21 years since the Rio UN conference. But you have to wonder why does he not see that if the world were to correlate information policy with energy policies and forecasts, the formula for reforms would spin out a vortex of cooperation. Do we really have to travel so much? Do politics have to be so slow? Can't there be some kind of "regional" super-culture that operates as an entrepreneurial enterprise that is open book and anti-corrupt? $50Billion and my brain and Lomborg's grasp could = the flowering of humanity and not the long cold truck toward hapless climate change mishandled with industrial age intelligence. You need visionary information age design and serious understanding of the relationship of information policy and energy. I got.
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      • Jun 6 2013: Very constructive advice, Juan. Thanks. The youtube link didn't work. I looked at Stratfor. Did you mean subscribe (and pay the $40 per month)? Or ?
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      • Jun 6 2013: Very interesting. I'm impressed by the number of subscribers given the subscription rate. Would you consider them alone in what they do or are they one of several players?

        One of the things that underpins the main creative idea that has emerged from all my experience--a multimedia environment intended to get out in front of the convergence of television and computers to lead it's last leg of "convergence" so that other developers can see clear benefit to them to eventually partner up--is to conventionalize "cyberspace". Cyberspace is a fantastic metaphor that has not yet been realized. People call the net "cyberspace" but that is just its use as a "buzzword". There isn't anyone who has taken the metaphor and run with it all the way to at least deliver a 1.0 version. The psychology of this is that by having a new conventionalized secondary plane of human interplay (that is "sexy" and focused on targeting flaws in existing conventional thinking and offering circumvention routes to avoid existing left-over dysfunction in broad social, economic, ecological and political contexts there are enormous side benefits that spare a lot of what would otherwise need real revolution. Stratfor, from what I can see thanks to you, provides "national" perspective. On my list of conventional thinking objectives that would be a natural side benefit of a true cyberspace/time continuum is the ability to lead question of the very concept of "nationalism". I foresee a growing "node" system of franchisees where already having what Stratfor (if not others) provides could channel what is now chaotic into sustainable progress engines that generate new intelligence and opportunity to keep the sustainable progress engine growing to become the basis for a "super-culture" of purposeful people. Coincidentally the interface into cyberspace would "stratify" overlays on geography to provide new ways to delineate commerce from science etc. I wonder if that is what "Strat" is "for". *smiles* OOC
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    Jun 6 2013: Decisions based on principles

    brings happiness and always stand test of time.
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    Jun 5 2013: Dan Gilbert: the surprising Science of Happiness! Two words: Synthetic Happiness! (& NO! Drugs have nothing to do with "synthetic happiness."

    Dan Gilbert:: Why we make bad decisions! Why? Because we are evolved to anticipate a 25 year lifespan with the need to make lots of babies because half or more of them will die before age five. But Professor Gilbert does not say that (in so many words). But we do have a troubling tendency to prefer instantaneous gratification over delayed gratification.
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    Jun 5 2013: A Rose by any other name DOES LOOK & Smell different! And in her talk Sheena Iyengar: the Art of Choosing; we find some striking examples of how cultural differences profoundly influence how people choose. Her research compares the U.S. American cultural choice paradigm with that in Japan/Asia; formerly Communist Eastern Europe; and even extends to End of Life choices (i.e. when to terminate life support) comparing how that decision is made and dealt with in France vs the U.S.A.

    "Adorable" is a very elegant shade of Pink nail polish. "Ballet Slippers" is a very Glamorous shade of Pink nail polish. And w/o the labels -- half of everyone asked can't tell the two shades apart at all! This seemingly trivial set of unusual conclusions, are solidly based in scientific research. And upon further analysis lead to some striking possibilities and compelling generalizations. For how it is that people choose to choose, is often, really, not a matter of conscious choice at all. A Rose by any other name DOES LOOK & Smell quite different!
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    Jun 5 2013: Sheena Iyengar ("Clap if Yes/when you're ready!") talks to us about How to Make Choosing Easier.

    Today we suffer "Choice Overload" with measurable, negative consequences. The average person makes 70 choices a day; & those extend from life/death choices to how much peanut butter to use on a cracker. The average CEO of a major corporation makes 139 decisions per day, all of which involve complex tasks. Decision time: 9 minutes or less per decision. Only rarely does a CEO decision take longer than an hour.

    Scientific research into choice led to 4 broad conclusions: 1) Cut: less is more, 2) Make it easier to understand/feel the positive consequences of making a decision, 3) Categorization: Meaningful categories are easier to handle than 100 zillion meaningless options, & 4) Simple choices w/fewer options work early & then condition for complexity. Let her explain the research for you.

    This talk illustrates one of the things I like BEST about TED! Almost none of the conclusions as proven by research matched what I intuitively expected when I first started watching the talk. I thought I understood Choice Overload. I thought I understood HOW to give myself the best opportunity to make a good choice. After all, I know how to shop!

    But the data and the analysis gave me a very different, and (I believe) a very valuable perspective. Turns out, I didn't know what I thought I knew. How about you?
  • Jun 5 2013: Well there can be a method - to make good decisions emulate someone who does.
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      Jun 5 2013: Of the 14 TED talks covering the process of Decision Making, the talk by Baba Shiv talks about giving up important health care treatment decisions to the Doctors in charge of your care. During a bout with cancer, Professor Shiv and his ill wife decided to surrender so-called "Patient Autonomy" to the physicians and accept their judgment of the best course of treatment available. His observation, THAT eased the burden of illness significantly for everyone and promoted an eventual, positive outcome.
      • Jun 6 2013: Juan I agree that talk was outstanding from the Stanford business prof.
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    Jun 5 2013: .
    .My answer:

    10,000 years ago, we made decision easily,
    by mainly our instincts and pre-instincts.

    Today, we can't do it
    because there is too much new information
    to be covered by our instincts and pre-instincts.

    It is a problem of bio-adaptation without key.

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      Jun 5 2013: In his TED talk, Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice, he points out that giving people more choices sometimes defeats the purpose of what you are trying to achieve in the first place. For example, more employees participate in Employer-matched payroll deductions to retirement plans . . . when they are limited to only 3 or 4 choices. If the employees have to choose between 50 different retirement plan options, they procrastinate and overall participation goes down. This is especially true for consumer products and consumer choices. Having only 3 or 4 choices gives you the feeling that you made the best choice of product available. Having to sort through 50 choices makes you feel that you MIGHT have been able to do better if you'd only spent more time and found the RIGHT one! This could change how we market everything!

      I agree, in the hunter-gatherer society of 10,000 years ago, there weren't many decisions even available to be made. It wasn't like you could decide: "What color of shirt do I wear today or what color shoes?" The biggest decision was "Which way do I/we go to find more food!" Between that and keeping all the females pregnant, there just weren't many options. And everyone died young. Half died before age 5. Half of the survivors died before age 25. That meant that one in 4 was lucky enough to see age 30. And past age 30 everything was on borrowed time.
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        Jun 22 2013: .

        So, the basics of our survival (or happiness) are:
        (1) Pursuing "a-step-better".
        (2) The size of the "step" does not matter much.

        Thus, the "too much information" is easy to cope with:
        just choose any "a-step-better".

        (from Be Happy Validly!)
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      Jun 22 2013: Mr. W. Ying . . .

      As a Professor of Happiness, check out this video!

      This is an exceptionally intelligent and bright woman. She is surrounded by tragedy. And she is overcoming all of it. Furthermore, her advocacy for Africa is compelling and present in her every word.

      I think she is happy 'validly.' As such, I would invite you to review the video, and render your decision. Am I correct?

      I gotta do another thread/conversation like this one. People need to watch the videos and NOT just use this place as a Blog. You really can learn a lot from the videos.
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    Jun 4 2013: Here we have fourteen TED talks about how we choose.

    One of the most interesting findings in the research into decision-making is that we have poor understanding of how we choose, and for good reason. Most of what comes into our choices is subconscious, and we construct a rationale after the fact without access to those unconscious "reasons." That rationale may bear little resemblance to actual motivations or processes underlying the choice.