Keeping Your Options Open?

Fascinating NY Times story about how we humans are irrationally averse to closing doors. We are determined to keep our options open. We are a people paralyzed with indecision. An MIT study covered in this story shows how we often fail to focus on that which is most valuable when we are distracted by other options.

Xiang Yu was a Chinese general in the third century B.C. who took his troops across the Yangtze River into enemy territory and performed an experiment in decision making. He crushed his troops’ cooking pots and burned their ships.

He explained this was to focus them on moving forward — a motivational speech that was not appreciated by many of the soldiers watching their retreat option go up in flames. But General Xiang Yu would be vindicated, both on the battlefield and in the annals of social science research.

Click here to play a game designed to test your decision making.

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