Thinking Fast and Slow

Reading Time: 3 minutes

You have serious drama going out in your mind all the time through day.

There are two different but interdependent systems that keep the drama going which govern your behavior. One is automatic and other is deliberate.

The automatic is impulsive and works using intuition or gut-feelings. The second is through considerations, calculations and is deliberate. The back and forth play of both the systems enables you to make decisions about how you think, pass judgment and take actions.

The automatic part is known as system I. This section of the brain operates without much thinking. System I kicks in immediately and automatically. For example, you are in a crowd and suddenly you here your name. Without giving any thought or without recalling who the shouter may be, you suddenly look at the direction where the sound came from.

System I which is automatic is a byproduct of your evolutionary past. It is linked with your survival instincts and so, you need not to think much when there is a call by system I. You just do what system I wants you to do. System I take rapid-fire decisions.

Whereas, System II is in charge of detailed decision making. This system handles conscious activities like self-control, making choices and focusing attention all are deliberate functions of brain.

Thinking Fast and slow
Two systems that determines the human behaviour

System I symbolizes the Lazy Mind

Laziness has profound effect on your intelligence and productivity. System I which has store house of experiences, will try to connect the information in hand with that of information stored and without validating the information in hand, it will take decision which may be wrong most of the times.

System I does so to save on energy. This is also known as the Law of Least effort. Our brain knows it very well that asking for system II takes more energy, so it will use knowledge from past experience (System I) and take decision quickly.

This brings following changes in our behavior

You constantly run yourselves on Autopilot

That’s the reason why you are not always in control of your thoughts and actions.

Since, your childhood you have been consistently told to do this or don’t do that, bla.. bla.. bla.. You become primed by cultural and social conditions around you. This keeps you on autopilot as you have been framed by opinions of other people around you. Hence, you follow those opinions most of the times and keep yourself running on autopilot.

Your society and culture weigh in heavily on how you take action and make judgments as well.

You make quick Choices

You do not take much time to act or respond and will be quick making choices. Moreover, you often hurt others by your behavior but can’t help it out because you run on autopilot.

As a result of such unthought decisions, you choose making wrong choices in career or relationships. Even repent afterwards but can’t rectify it because you never take time to think and act accordingly.

Some other time, you fall in love with someone. You see other person doing few things exactly as you like it. You assume that he or she may be doing the rest of the things too like the way you like them. You over simplify that person. And fall prey to confirmation bias and move ahead in relationships. When you come to know that other person is not exactly the way you want them to be; it is too late. You have made quick choice and now there is no use.

You dislike stats or evidences

Since, it takes more energy to study the data or evidences, you tend to ignore it. You make decisions even without studying the evidences.

Cognitive ease Vs Cognitive strain

You are in state of cognitive ease when there is no need to activate attention. When your mind starts paying attention and use more energy you enter another state called cognitive strain but you like using less energy. So you remain most of the times in cognitive ease.

While in cognitive ease, System I is in charge. You feel more creative, happy and intuitive. This is where you are more prone to make mistakes because your thinking part of brain doesn’t work in this state.

If you limit your thinking with system I, which is automatic and responds without thinking, you limit your intelligence as well as your chances to win in life.


Actionable Tips:-

  1. Naturally, our brain would like to remain in cognitive ease but with practice you can make it to remain in cognitive strain which is beneficial in longer run.
  2. System II is necessary for making better decisions. Research shows that systems II does detailed analysis before providing an answer. Hence, putting system II is the right thing to do. It increases the chance to win.
  3. When you are in cognitive strain, System II is the boss. You are less creative but you make fewer mistakes.


Think and Grow Rich- The ultimate money making secret
How to Stay Motivated: Learn from The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.