Informed Decisions Consumer Power Fundamentals

Your Decisions Matter

By Taylor Gray, Ph.D. on October, 27 2020

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Taylor Gray, Ph.D.

The world is a better place when companies are good corporate citizens. I remain focused on developing meaningful and actionable insights from empirical data in pursuit of a better world.

The world—as we’ve known it, as we live it, and as we desire it—is a product of choice. Our greatest responsibility, to ourselves and to others, is to make informed decisions.

"The world as we know it is created by the choices we have made; the world as we want it will be created by the choices we will make."

We all make decisions. We all make a lot of decisions. Some reports suggest we make an average of 70 conscious decisions each day, while others suggest we make at least 200 mindless decisions about food alone each day, and still others—and these have gone viral in popular commentary—claim we make over 35,000 ‘remotely conscious’ decisions each day. I suppose the exact number of decisions we make each day depends largely on how you define ‘decision’ and ‘consciousness’—yet whether the number is 70 or 35,000, we all make a lot of decisions.

Where to live, where to work, where to go to school, what to study, what to eat, how to get to work today, who to vote for, where to invest retirement savings, where to volunteer, which car to purchase, to stream a show or go for a walk, to buy a sweater you just saw on Instagram, what to snack on…The stream of decision-making is endless, from the meaningful to the seemingly trivial.

 

Outcomes of Our Decisions

Regardless of importance, each and every decision we make results in three series of outcomes. 

  • At a first level, our decisions are made with a focus on anticipated and intended outcomes. These are the outcomes we actually want and are largely the reason we are making the decision.
  • At a second level, our decisions also result in anticipated but unintended outcomes. These are the outcomes that we are aware of but uninterested in and are largely thought of as the ‘tag-alongs’ to the first level outcomes we actually do want.
  • At a third level, our decisions also often result in unanticipated and unintended outcomes. These are the outcomes we didn’t even know were possible at the time of making a decision. These third level outcomes are typically, but not exclusively, brought about over a longer timeframe and result from changing understandings and/or conditions. Consider that many people driving vehicles in the 1900s were wholly unaware that their choice to do so would also result in the emission of greenhouse gases contributing to a changing climate. Or that, in the early days of globalization, many people were eager to buy long-coveted consumer products at lower prices wholly unaware that their decisions were consequential to a decline in the USA manufacturing sector.

Compounding the situation, these three levels of outcomes can materialize across varying timeframes. Studying now may seem a chore in the short-term but a smart investment in the long-term; Driving now may seem convenient in the short-term but a contribution to climate change over the longer-term; A promotion at work may be celebrated in the short-term but the consequences on family life may be decried over the longer-term. A decision may be an event at one moment, yet with consequences which ripple far beyond.

 

"Life is an adventure in making decisions and navigating the outcomes."

 
Informed Decisions and the Fate of Society

As we make a decision, these series of outcomes affect ourselves and others as well. Just as we make decisions so too does everyone else—and, although seemingly unjust to many, some people’s decisions are more consequential than others’. As every person makes decisions every day, and as the consequences of each and every decision intertwin and compound or counteract each other, the world as we live it emerges.

Personal experiences and large social patterns are the result of aggregated individual choices. Life is an adventure in making decisions and navigating the outcomes. The world as we know it is created by the choices we have made; the world as we want it will be created by the choices we will make. Our greatest responsibility is to make informed decisions.

At Motive, we take this responsibility to heart. In a market-based society, we all engage with companies everyday. As consumers, the brands we engage with--just as the brands we make sure not to engage with--is a matter of choice. The choices we make will shape the world we want--Choosing good products that lead to a better world should not be complicated.

It is not our place to tell you what to choose, but it is our responsibility to make sure you have the information you need to readily make informed decisions. Our science-based approach makes it easy to understand the impacts of the brands you choose and to discover new brands committed to being better. With evidence and insights, we support you in making good decisions based on what you care about.

 


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