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Do you know what uses 20% of your daily energy?

If you guessed your brain congratulations.

Thinking is hard work and requires a lot of energy.

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That’s why we can’t deeply think about every decision.

If we did our brains wouldn’t cope and we’d be permanently exhausted.

To deal with this we have developed two modes of thinking. These modes get given different names. But I refer them to them as reflexive thinking and reflective thinking.

Today I want to look at reflexive thinking.

This is where we make a quick decision using what are called heuristics (mental shortcuts). A technique or clue we use to guide our decision. Here’s some examples.

You get a friend request on social media and see the person is connected to a trusted friend. Therefore you will be more likely to accept it.

You’re in the grocery store buying yoghurt. You see one with ‘no added sugar’ on the packaging. You think that sounds healthy I’ll buy that one.

Or it could be something like ‘made with real fruit’ (as if there’s fake fruit).

The words are a shortcut to convey healthy.

But and it’s a big but the product many not really be that healthy. The only way to know for sure is to look at the ingredients closely and make your decision based on that.

Now back to bad thinking for fun and profit.

That’s exactly what marketers do. Grocery is the most common area to find this in action.

But I also see it a lot on websites. Often you see three options for something and one is labelled ‘most popular’ or ‘best value’ therefore most people buy that.

Heuristics are powerful for stimulating purchase of your offer over another.

Please use them ethically. Too many marketers use them to give a misleading impression of what they’re selling. This is bad thinking. You’ll win in the short term. But eventually customers will realise you’re tricking them and they won’t thank you for it.