3 Types Of Mental Conflicts In Decision Making

types of conflicts in decision making

We all live different lives, none of us have the same life. Some people are living the life of their dreams. Some people are in pursuit of living the life of their dreams. Many are struggling in their life and some are living the life one can’t complain about while others are content & satisfied with their life. 

A few are extremely successful in whatever they do in their life and some are hardly surviving in different areas of life. 

Now to many of us, it may look like that some people are gifted or some people have great luck and some people are simply just out of luck. But if you look into it deeply and analyze it without any emotional influence, you will realize that it is not exactly so. 

The fundamental difference between a person who is successful in his actions and the person who is struggling to get what he or she wants in life is just one thing that is DECISION MAKING. 

mental conflicts in decision making

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What is Decision Making?

A person who is successful knows the process of decision making and does it with efficiency and a person who is not so successful does not understand the function in its totality.

Decision-making is part of our daily life. Whether it is about deciding to change a job, getting a cup of coffee or tea, deciding to marry someone, or staying single. 

It is also about getting up from bed in the morning or hitting that snooze button. Decision-making is something we do every single day, every single hour, every single minute, and maybe every single second. 

The decisions we take on a daily basis determine what type of life we live and these decisions are influenced by our state of mind. The more our state of mind is clear and our emotions are stable the more precisely we make decisions. 

What is Decision Making Under Conflict?

Often in our lives, we come to certain situations where the process of decision-making creates a lot of conflict in our minds. This creates unnecessary stress which further negatively influences our decision-making ability and that negatively influences the quality of our life. 

Generally, such situations require us to make some strong decisions that can shape our lives in a completely different way. 

Maybe it’s about marrying someone we love, taking admission in a college or choosing a career path, starting a new venture or quitting your job for your passion, or anything like that. 

Such decisions are very impactful in terms of how our future life will be but also these situations create a lot of conflict in our mind which further influences our decisions and that further influences our life. 

In order to have a life the way we want we need to understand the decision making conflicts, these situations create in our minds. So that we can make decisions with much more clarity and confidence. 

According to modern psychology and decision making theory, there are three types of mental conflicts that we generate in our minds when we are in a situation where we have to make a decision call. 

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What Are The Three Types Of Conflicts In Decision Making?

Following are the main conflict types in decision making and psychology.

1. Approach – Approach Conflict

When a person is having two or more options in front of him or her and all the options are desirable or all the options look good to go with, then this type of conflict is called Approach – Approach Conflict in decision making. 

approach approach conflict in decision making

Approach Approach Conflict Example

Imagine that there is a girl or boy in your neighborhood and you are secretly in love with him or her, and there is another girl or boy at your office who also attracts you toward him or her. 

Now suddenly, one day both of them ask you out on a date and you have to choose between one of them. Approach–Approach Conflict in decision-making comes into play. 

Or imagine you get a job offer from two reputed companies and both of the companies are offering handsome salaries & other benefits. Now you have to choose one of them. This is another example of Approach – Approach Conflict. 

Among the three types of mental conflicts in decision making, it creates the least amount of stress and o doesn’t last long. 

So it is not something to worry about. Whatever option we choose is mostly beneficial. However in this situation, one must go with intuition. 

2. Approach – Avoidance Conflict

When a person is having with him or her just one option and he or she are having dual tendencies toward that option that is that he or she wants that option because of a certain reason and also he or she do not want that option for some other reason, the conflict that this type of confusing situation creates is called as Approach Avoidance Conflict. 

approach avoidance conflict in decision making

Approach Avoidance Conflict Example

Imagine the company you are working in is suddenly giving you a significant amount of raise. However, you will have to get transferred to a place far from your hometown. 

Now you want to get that promotion because of the raise. But because you will have to leave your city, you also are reluctant to accept the offer. 

Or you want to marry someone you love genuinely, but somewhere inside you fear whether it will work or not. You feel you might lose your freedom after marriage and so you are not so sure if you want to marry. 

These types of decision making conflicts create a lot of confusion in life and bring useless stagnancy. 

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If we don’t make a call, it is most likely that we will continue with what we are doing and may lose the chance to change our life for good. We mostly get confused by the doubt that whether the decision will bring better for us or it will make our life worse. 

We tend to take a peek into the future. But the point we forget is that shaping the future is a continuous process that is done with the actions we take every single moment. 

Whether we choose the option or not, both situations will have some pluses & minuses. Whatever decision we take, we must take it with utmost clarity & confidence. 

Moreover, once you take it, don’t look back and just keep working for the betterment of your life. This is not some philosophical concept. It is a real fact. 

So let’s say if we decide to quit the job to pursue a career, what will happen in a year or two completely depends upon what we have done during that period. 

If we give our 100%, we may get the best of the results. But if we get lazy or disoriented the result will not be the way we wanted. 

The most important thing that we must remember is that almost all of us are driven by these two emotions- greed and fear. This always keeps us from rising. 

Fear is considered the mother of all negative feelings. When one transcends his or her own fear, that is when one realizes his or her true potential. 

So in situations like this, we must make sure that our decision must not be oriented from emotions like fear, greed, jealousy or any other negative feelings. 

We can quit the job to pursue our passion or marry someone we love, only if we really want to do it. 

But if we are marrying someone because of our age or we see other people doing well in their respective careers, and because of that we want to pursue the same career, then we will be messing with our lives.

3. Avoidance – Avoidance Conflict

When a person is having a challenging situation that is very critical in life and the other options are also not so promising, this type of situation where a person is having all the undesirable options in front of him or her creates Avoidance – Avoidance Conflict in decision making.

This is among the worst types and causes of mental conflicts. In many cases, the situation is very serious. 

avoidance avoidance conflict

Avoidance Avoidance Conflict Example

For example, a person may have to choose between a low-paying tedious job and being unemployed when he and his family are already struggling with finances. 

The person may have to choose whether to undergo the operation/surgery of cancer and live with the side effects or continue with medication which may make cancer worse. 

Continuing the job where one is getting mentally tortured or to quit and become unemployed. Continue to work on an abusive hopeless marriage or get divorced and become a single parent. 

If we don’t do something consequential about such situations then not only will the situation get worse but also slowly develop a negative attitude toward life. 

In some cases, people develop suicidal tendencies too. We may feel stuck in such situations, as we don’t have any other options. But the fact is no matter whatever situation we are in, there is always a way out. 

Our job is to make efforts to figure out that way. The first and foremost thing that makes us move in the right direction is to make a wish, a desire, an intention to evade such a situation. Then start making efforts right away. 

It takes some courage to make a decision. Our mind thinks that ‘oh it will be very difficult’ or ‘it is not possible’. But understand that in such situations, the only thing that is difficult is to make a decision to change your life

It is because the situation is not the problem but your mindset which got you into that situation in the first place. This is now not letting you get out of it. 

types of mental conflicts in decision making

If we can overcome this counterproductive mindset and decide to work out the situation and put effort toward it, we will definitely get into a much better place in our life. Slowly our mindset will also get more productive & assertive. 

As mentioned earlier, whatever decision we take, it must not be coming from the crust of fear. Make sure when you make the decision, your state of mind is clear and you are emotionally stable. Always remember, where there is a will there’s a way. 

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Have Questions About Types of Mental Conflicts in Decision Making?

These are the three major conflict types in decision making that we see in our daily lives. Mostly such situations play a major role in which direction our life will proceed. 

By understanding such situations and the mental conflicts that such situations produce, we can make decisions more clearly and we will be more in charge of our life. If you have any doubts or questions related to the types of conflicts in decision making, let me know through the comments section below.

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