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During a games’ week in high school, I decided to participate in a marathon with the hope of winning. The race was tough, but I managed to keep up my pace and be among the top four people leading in the race. As I approached the finish line, the person running next to me tripped and fell down. I kept on running, turned back briefly and saw her lying on the ground. However, my feet did not stop and I kept on running for fear of losing the race. I emerged third place. The fear of losing enabled me to make a decision instantly that overrode my moral judgement, a choice that still haunts me. This emotion hindered my thought process. At that moment, my thinking should not have been geared towards winning, but should have shifted towards the well-being of my fellow marathoner. Therefore, what could I have done to make this emotional influence more positive and helpful?
Firstly, I should have taken more time to think about deciding on whether to be fearful losing or fear moral failure. Another method of minimising emotional response is the “two-state solution” where I should have made an effort to counteract the fear I felt with compassion or empathy for the other runner. The implication of this changeover of emotions would have been to stop running and choose to help her out. The mentioned strategies both require effort which may fail for busy decision makers (Lerner et al, 2014). Thus, a better approach to that can be employed could have been the “choice architecture” which refers to altering and reframing thought process to affect behaviour naturally without employing volatile emotions to make choices. In this scenario, this translates to me rewiring my mind to prioritise helping someone else – to be selfless.
Emotions may hinder the thought process and lead to negative thinking; however, on realisation change of emotional state, deliberations may be made through effort to transfer or counteract the sentiment. Additionally, changing one’s mindset to influence a naturally desired behaviour may override making emotional decisions.
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