We meet again..,

After writing in depth about the origin of the unconscious mind, I will switch gears for a bit and point out to you another instance where you aren’t necessarily the willful owner of your decisions…

Let’s start from the beginning. Specifically, the beginning of the day, which tends to involve breakfast unless you have caught on into the latest trend of intermittent fasting (or how I like to call it – masochism that works). If you’re a bit like me, you will start it with caffeine. Now, imagine entering the your local cafeteria and getting ready to jump start your day with some delicious coffee. When encountered with different cup sizes to choose from, which of the ones below would you pick?

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You most likely picked up the middle cup (unless you work in the medical field which means you function at toxic caffeine levels). The reason most of you did this is due to a psychological phenomenon called the compromise effect [1]. This is a behavioral economics concept based on the observation that when individuals are faced with uncertainty of decision, they tend to compromise. Now some corporations may be considering this principle when making marketing decisions in order to shift your “compromise” to a more expensive product (Think of the Trenta cup in Starbucks).

There is evidence showing that you are less prone to act upon this effect if you are very confident, and you’re more likely to go for the “safe” option if not (click here if for the original research in this topic).

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Why is confidence related to your choosing a bigger or a smaller coffee? Likely due several reasons, and some of them lie very deep how your unconscious mind sees the world.

You can argue that maybe you just picked the first thing that came to your mind. That may very well be the case, but if you think about the process of that choice, we can learn several things about how you think. When you make active choices in your day to day life, you are engaged in it, living it in the moment. You are choosing what you want, and in general terms, what you think you need. I have noticed in my own life, that when I am actively using my conscious mind to choose what I want, I tend to fall into the compromise effect less often. I also notice that when I am actively choosing for my self, I feel more confident. 

Choosing a cup of coffee sounds so trivial and meaningless, but I would argue that’s not the case. I think every time you make a thoughtful choice, you’re making a statement in your life. You are valuing your right as a human being to make a decision. You’re asserting yourself as an individual. When you go “passive” and decide not to think much about it, it is still a decision. At that moment, you’re having your unconscious mind choose, and at this point we know that your choices are related to how you perceive yourself and the reality behind you based your past history.

Why is it that the majority of the people choose the middle cup? Why does the majority of the people goes to what’s “safe” instead of what’s willed? Why is it more likely that you don’t go for “safe” if you’re confident? It seems like such small issue and yet is so meaningful. Somewhere inside your mind is thinking “I don’t want to get the bigger cup, drink too much coffee and be jittery or have more coffee than what I need or spend more money than I necessary”, “I don’t want the smaller cup and be left wanting more”. All these thoughts are coming from an origin of an “I don’t want to lose” and “I don’t know myself” attitude.

Your unconscious mind is coming from a scarcity perspective, thinking about all the possibilities in which things can go wrong and compromising for the one that does the least damage. When you know what you want, you know you deserve it, and its your right to have it, your unconscious mind doesn’t bypass you, you just get it, there’s no scarcity mindset.

C.G Jung used to say “Until you make your unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate”

If we can let it control the size of our drink, He is absolutely right…

(Want to learn why your unconscious mind is operating this way? You can read my articles on it by clicking here for part 1, and here for part 2).


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