The author of this month’s book, Daniel Kahneman, is a character with a peculiar journey since, while being a psychologist, he received the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics for the work he conveyed in this book.
In it, he tells us that we have two ways of thinking: fast or slow. And, based on which way we use to make our decisions, the results can be very different. But let’s see this thesis with the detail that allows the format of the news.
We all consider ourselves rational beings and, in addition, we hold the belief that we master what we do, what we feel and even how we act. However, these two ways of thinking, which the author calls System 1 and System 2, make us act in very different ways:
• System 1: Thinking of rapid, intuitive and emotional development. It is the one that works a thousand miles per hour and that often impels us to say things without thinking too much, providing us with automatic conclusions. These are based on “the self that remembers”, which is nourished by all kinds of memories stored throughout life.
• System 2: It is slower, reflective and rational and therefore generates conscious responses. It is the one that takes its time to produce the decisions. These are based on data, its analysis and on the “self that experiences”, reflective and not as reactive as System 1.
Interestingly, according to the author, most of the time we do not reflect on which of the two systems has taken the reins of our behavior, nor on how each of them influences the generation of our judgments and decision making. We would go as far as to add that if our reasons or prejudices are imposed over the Aha!, innovation retracts, and, if we had to choose between the two options, we would opt for a proper balance between them.
Another very interesting point in Kahneman’s thesis is that people have a natural tendency to avoid losing rather than aim to win, and this has a significant influence on our attitude towards change initiatives, such as innovation.
We see then that there are mechanisms within us that predispose us or not to innovation so perhaps it would be good to reflect on this and get to know ourselves a little more in these aspects.
This is how it begins…
To observe your mind in automatic mode, glance at the image below.
Your experience as you look at the woman’s face seamlessly combines what we normally call seeing and intuitive thinking. As surely and quickly as you saw that the Young woman’s hair is dark, you knew she is angry. Furthermore, what you saw extended into the future. You sensed that this woman is about to say some very unkind words, probably in a loud and strident voice. A premonition of what she was going to do next came to mind automatically and effortlessly. You did not intend to assess her mood or to anticipate what she might do, and your reaction to the picture did not have the feel of something you did. It just happened to you. It was an instance of fast thinking