maz Rodriguez


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When making a decision, should we follow our heart or our mind?

What, in your view, the best way of making a decision?

Is the decision we make after having thought through all the pros and cons carefully, always right? Or is the decision we felt at first, the intuitive or gut instinct - what our subconscious tells us to do - the best path to take?

Should we trust our heart first? If, afterwards, we see it wasn't the best thing to do, should we not blame ourselves because it was what we felt?

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    Nov 4 2011: I offer two quotes:

    "It's only with the heart
    that one can see clearly,
    What's essential
    is invisible to the eye"
    the Fox in The little Prince.

    "You can not depend on your eyes, when your imagination is out of focus". Mark Twain
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      Nov 4 2011: Thanks a lot for your comment. What do you think we should think to console ourselves if the decision had bad consequences? Should we not blame ourselves with the excuse that we did what we felt?
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        Nov 5 2011: Marien, el corazòn es como la puerta de entrada, la razòn es la puerta de salida. Recuerda que el corazon tiene razones que la razòn desconoce. Y es indispensable que antes de entrar conozcas por donde salir.
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        Nov 6 2011: Never blame yourself for anything as you know you did the best you could think of.
        Those consequences could well lead to new perspectives a new chapter of your life.
        The outcome we desrire isn't always the best there is.

        I like the two quotes Craig presented. The second shows well how if our emotions are moved we can;t see clearly.
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      Nov 4 2011: Craig already brought in the most important quote in the world, as far as I am concerned ;-) ;-) And my number one point of reference.
      "It's only with the heart that one can see clearly. What's essential is invisible to the eye"....
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      Nov 5 2011: Craig and Juliette,

      One of my favorite quotes of all times. I love The Little Prince. Good to hear from you again, missed you in the Creativity talk lately...
      "Please—tame me! [...] Men have no more time to understand anything. They buy things all ready made at the shops. But there's no shop anywhere where one can buy friendship, and so men have no friends any more."

      Marien, I don't understand "blaming"
      Weather is blaming others, or yourself. Why waste time?

      Decisions and choices bring you to actions.
      Actions have consequences.
      And there is no "if": some will be good consequences, some will be seen as bad consequences. This is life.
      Every decision/choice you make is a learning experience, for the heart, the mind, the body.
      That's all there is to it. You don't blame, you LEARN. Or you should, if you live with awareness.
      It is a process, and you get better with time...

      The question is not so much what consequence there is, but what do you chose to do with the consequences? Do you actually take time to look at the result of your actions on you and others? Do you engage the heart and listen? Do you adjust and change something for the future?

      It is a personal journey, and how to balance things changes from person to person, that's what I think anyways.
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        Nov 6 2011: I totally agree Karina,
        Blaming others or ourselves is a waste of time and energy. Using the Mind (logic/reason) AND the Heart (intuition/instinct) together simply makes sense to me. We have these functions available to us, and to deny one or the other seems foolish to me. Once a decision is made, I know I have listened to ALL information and can move forward with the decision/choice. I follow that path passionately without looking back to question myself. Questioning our "self" after a decision/choice has been made also uses up extra time and energy that could be spent more effectively in other ways.

        ALL consequences provide the opportunity to learn and grow, so I don't percieve "good" or "bad" consequences. If, as you say Karina, "every decision/choice you make is a learning experience, for the heart, the mind, the body" (which I agree with), then how can our decisions/choices be "bad"? I agree...we don't blame...we learn with is a process...and the more we learn about our "self", the better we get at making decisions/choices in the life journey:>)

        Spending the energy blaming ourselves or others actually prevents us from moving on to the next adventure. It is valuable to recognize what we may do differently next time, and gratitude for the lessons learned usually helps me move to the next life exploration:>)

        You are right...we cannot buy friendship...
        "A friend is a present you give yourself".
        (Robert Louis Stevenson)
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          Nov 7 2011: Glad to hear from you, Queen of the gardens...

          And I am not surprised you share my views -I am sure you are already an expert in this. I am only trying hard to stick to my theory, being more consistent each day. I do understand Marien, this is a process, it may just be that our "default" is in self blame...

          Changing the topic, but not too far from the soul, I wonder how your paradise on earth looks now, with snow. Any pics to share? I'll be nearby in two weeks, and will look down from the airplane when we go over Virginia :-)
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          Nov 7 2011: I wish I could recall the source for this quote " it is not the mistakes you make but what you do about them that determine your character and worth."
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        Nov 9 2011: Dear Sweet Karina,
        I will accept the title "Queen of the gardens", IF EVERYONE who has a beautiful garden accepts the title of Queen/King of the gardens:>)......LOL!

        We don't have any snow on the ground this fact, it's been unseasonably warm. I made a decision with my heart and mind, based on previous information, to close the gardens, remove all the pumps from the water features, etc...getting ready for winter, and it appears that we are back in summer weather for a few days...beautiful! I have photos of the winter gardens, which I love, but they're not on the computer. I am in Vermont, but I'm sure you will see beautiful gardens in Virginia too:>)

        Thank you for your kind words, and I am not an "expert" in anything. I'm simply a person, exploring the life experience...everything and nothing:>)

        Dear Sweet Juliette,
        Nice quote:>) I don't even consider anything a "mistake". If we are learning, growing and evolving in our "self", how can it be a mistake?
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          Nov 9 2011: I see, you are a very egalitarian Queen...

          Well, I am not going to Virginia either... If you are in Vermont I will be going to be closer than you think. I said I was going to be "nearby"... planning to spend Thanksgiving with family in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Massachusetts... they already had plenty of snow there, and I thought it had reached to your neck of the hood!

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          Nov 10 2011: Dear Colleen, Thank you my neighbor ;-) I completely follow in your footsteps, striving to be and do the best in every moment. When living mindfully at such high level of consciousness, "learning, growing and evolving in our "self", we certainly will not cause mistakes. I was thinking of Aaron's message....when we who travel this journey come upon a mistake such as the one he presented, and how brief an opportunity we have in our life time to correct those mistakes....
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        Nov 12 2011: Dear Karina,
        I try my best to be egalitarian because it gives me pleasure, insight, and opens SO many more doors for my "life education":>)

        Have a safe journey coming east. BTW, my daughter lives in TX too:>)

        Dear Juliette,
        OH MY...You follow in my footsteps??? I better be carefull where I am walking and tread softly:>)
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          Nov 12 2011: Me & a whole lot of others ;-) ;-) lol.
  • Nov 4 2011: USe your heart to follow what you want. use your brain, to calculate and minimize the risks and then go for it.
  • Nov 10 2011: Hi Marien,

    Utiliza la misma sensación que te impulso a iniciar esta conversación... Las expectativas son sólo condiciones deseadas de la mente. cuando estas condiciones no se cumplan, empezarás a reconocer que la inteligencia de la vida va mas allá de lo que podamos imaginar.

    ‎"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do". -Benjamin Spock
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      Nov 12 2011: Esto es tan cierto Yuri. Las expectativas que nos meten en problemas todo el tiempo. Dejar ir las expectativas que nos permite ser libre e ilimitado en la aventura de la vida:>)
      • Nov 13 2011: .......Y sorprendernos en cada momento. :D

        Colleen con tu participación y feedback, estoy seguro, logras que más personas se animen a participar.

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          Nov 13 2011: Estimado Yuri,
          Con la participación de muchas personas aquí en TED, vamos a tener éxito en la conexión de la gente de nuestro mundo ... Estoy seguro de eso. Luego seguimos nuestro corazón y nuestra mente para tomar buenas decisiones que sean beneficiosas para todos en nuestro mundo.
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    Nov 4 2011: .
    Hi Marien, I may have a bizarre answer for you, but one that is backed by some research.

    Here it is: don't make the decision yourself, let it me made by others!

    Research has shown that people who face very big, difficult decisions, actually make poor choices. The stakes are too high, the heart troubles, the mind troubles, everything is confusing.

    So test-subjects were proposed to have their decision made by total strangers instead. And it turned out that those who used this strategy obtained the best results. The higher the number of outside choice-makers, the better the result.

    It was also shown that those subjects whose choice was made by others, were most satisfied by it. Those subjects who made their own choice always regretted not having made the other choice.

    Strange, isn't it?

    But in a sense, I think we can understand the research. We are very social creatures, and subjective judgements can be too much influenced by the past, by traumatic experiences, by truly "irrational", deeply personal factors. Objective outsiders don't have this problem when they have to make a choice for others, but they always have some kind of empathy with the situation/dilemma in which the other is placed, while at the same time keeping some form of rationality.

    However, this strategy may work only for choices that address a simple dilemma, and which require a rational, clear-cut, "profit-maximising" answer.

    Anyways, I thought you might like that idea.
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      Nov 5 2011: Thanks a lot I really like this argument. I think other people deciding for us sometimes can definitely helps us.
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      Nov 6 2011: Reading your comment, Laurens, I smiled... "[...] subjects whose choice was made by others, were most satisfied by it. Those subjects who made their own choice always regretted not having made the other choice.": thinking about some situations in my life in which others decided for me I must say that your statement is completely true.
      I don't really like others taking decisions in my place but it is also true that when we are not completely 'rational' others acting in our place can be very 'comfortable' for our mind (and for our heart too).
      However it is important, in my opinion, that till the moment a decision is taken we have shared with people involved our points of view and we have tried all our best to show that our decision would have been different and MAY BE it could have been better.
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    Nov 4 2011: Don't switch off the brain and don't ignore the heart.
  • Nov 7 2011: A big part of our sense of identity is the hierarchy of goals and desires we have in our mind. Most of our decisions would be such that the intended results don't go contrary to the fulfillment of the goals. These desires are created (or get influenced) by genetic programming, cultural pressures, social narratives and what we read, think and know from past experiences.

    For most people (excluding probably the Buddhist monks) who are even a little bit out of touch with their feelings and desires there would be two such lists - the 'true' or hardwired one, and the perceived or the one we know of consciously.

    If for someone - being compassionate, having a sense of social responsibility, justice, fairness etc - figure in the hardwired list of goals it would be worthwhile to listen to the sayings like "follow your heart".

    And for someone who is yet to get any reasonable control over genetic and social programming but is able to reason out well and consciously strives towards good, it would be better to endure the pain of going against the inner most desires and do the 'hard' work or what the mind says.

    (Of course, it is probably a continuous distribution and it would be wrong to classify people into these two classes (there are more classes!! - those with a compassion stubbed out by bad experiences and a consciousness corrupted by books and articles that promote selfishness as a virtue).)

    Also these two quotes might be helpful, 'consciousness is a terrible thing to waste', and 'know thyself' ( - that is to say, by observing one's own behaviour it may be possible to eventually reason out why the heart and mind are saying what they are saying and decide accordingly).
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    Nov 6 2011: I love this question. I feel like I ask myself the same one every day. To be totally honest, my answer is that the question can't have an answer. I find that some circumstances require me to trust my emotions over my logic and vice versa. I've tried to create categories for myself, like at work I tend to ignore just about all of my emotions unless I feel seriously offended by something. In relationships... I have no idea. When I'm trying to be creative I tend not to think so much about logic or reason but what images and such come from my emotions at the time. You see in my life every time I try and make a rule to use one, I end up finding exceptions to use the other on further analysis. It's a bit ironic.

    What is the meaning of life? I think your question and that one are nearly to equivalent to each other, it is precisely the question everyone else is asking themselves, all day, all the time. "When making this decision, should I follow my heart or my mind?"
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    Nov 6 2011: Hi Marien, great question!

    I can only give you an answer based on my experience.

    Follow your INSTINCT!

    When I connect to that inner SELF, that quiet, wise but strong voice inside, I am always lead to the best choice for my wellbeing. Your instinct is there to protect you, nurture and guide you.

    Instinct you are born with, fear is taught.

    Generally speaking instinct is quieter so you really have to pause and listen. Fear is loud, obnoxious and consuming. If you can find a way to calm the negativity you will hear the truth.

    Hope that is helpful.
    With a smile,
    PS. If you have 'followed your heart' and it wasn't the best thing to do you know it wasn't the best thing to do? Did you learn from it? If you did, then that action did exactly what it was suppose to do! :)
  • Nov 6 2011: it depends on what we value the most at that point of time =)
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    Nov 6 2011: Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. – Thomas Jefferson

    [By the way, I collect quotes and do not actually go looking for quotes that relate to a topic being discussed but, if I do come across something I think relevant to an ongoing conversation, I post it. I came across this Jefferson quote while looking for confirmation of something else he purportedly said.]
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    Nov 5 2011: We love poetics. And while there is some truth to many of our dearest sayings, we do need to apply some reason. And for every positive exhortation that we should follow our heart, we can find others where doing so has led to ruin.

    Follow your heart?

    Maybe. Maybe not.

    "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" – Jeremiah 17:9


    Enjoy the poetry; do what works; listen to what Laurens Rademakers said.
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    Nov 5 2011: Do what works.

    If you can help it, do not make any decisions that are not "reversible."

    Measure the outcome of your decisions against the outcome you want to achieve. Change accordingly.* (Trial and error. Adapt and prosper.)

    Pay attention to what Laurens Rademakers wrote.

    * Measuring the outcome of your decisions against the outcome you want to achieve and changing accordingly, requires that you know the outcome you want. And that is not as easy as it sounds. You may think you want to be married (or have children) when, in fact, what you might really want is to be happy. You might think being married and having kids will make you happy so you might pursue those. By the way, being married and having kids will not make you happy. If you are happy, you can be married and have kids and still be happy**. If you are not happy, getting married and having kids will not make you so.

    ** Having kids is actually very highly correlated to a decrease in happiness.
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    Nov 5 2011: I have always thought that objective judgements in isolation are entrenched in the past. Such judgements are primarily informed by what is already known - by those things that have already been 'tried and tested'.

    Because of this, I think it is impossible to be truly objective about the future. Subjective decision-making (the heart, gut-feel, subconscious) can only do this. Objectivity can only INFORM gut-feel decisions involving the future, or involving those things that are hitherto unknown.

    Personally, if I have to make decisions about the future or the unknown, I first follow my gut-feel and then try my best to verify and inform it with objectivity. I’m not saying this is right for everybody. I just know it works for me.

    So yes - heart first, followed very closely by an informed mind.
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    Nov 5 2011: follow your gut
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    Nov 4 2011: Both.....but we have to carefull which one goes first¡¡¡¡¡
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    Nov 4 2011: Well @Craig : Completely agree....
    Its always thinking form the heart for me...
    some times both heart and mind think the same thing...that is when sometimes we feel that we thought from mind...
    but really its always the heart...i try my best to always listen to my heart...its not only got eyes...but mouth as well...sometimes shouts out loud to my mind to do stuff... :) :)
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    Nov 4 2011: Two parts head with one part heart ( could be the reverse on occasion!)