9th November 2018

I wanted to write some articles about helping our children learn how to make good decisions and the importance of those decisions.

According to “numerous sources” on the internet, it is estimated that an average human being makes about 35,000 decisions a day. This little “fact” led me on an interesting journey that I am going to tell you about.

The statistic that we make 35,000 decisions a day is cited often in magazine articles, newspapers, on television, in ads, as well as in various other places. It has simply become “fact” because it is stated in so many places so often. The problem is that I have looked all over to find where this statistic comes from, and I cannot find it. The majority of places where the statistic is used starts with “sources say”. What sources? There are many articles that say there are sources but never what those sources are. The ironic thing is that the articles that say “there are sources” actually become themselves the sources for other articles. One article I read had a link to the “source” for the statistic. So I followed it to an article I had already read that simply stated “sources say that we make 35,000 decisions a day.”

I can understand why the number of decisions we make in a day would probably be in the tens of thousands. There is actually a study by Cornell (and you can find the source for it) that does show that we make over 220 decisions in a day just related to food alone (go ahead, grab that last donut). We can and do make lots of decisions in just a couple of seconds. Just driving to school this morning probably involved hundreds of small decisions.

So what is the point of all of this research on how many decisions we make in a day? Well what started me down this path was that I wanted to write some articles about helping our children learn how to make good decisions and the importance of those decisions. I jumped on the web and hit the statistic and a couple hours later. After running all over the internet, I decided (34,999 to go) my first article about this topic needs to be about something called “circular sourcing”. It is where an article states something but with no sourcing and then another article sites that article as the source. Then another article sites the second article who sited the first one who did not actually source anything. After a while the information just becomes “fact” and people start quoting it without even feeling they need a source, but if they do they source the statistic, they use the articles that ultimately never sourced anything in the first place.

So what is the first decision you should make after reading this article (one of your 35,000 today)? Decide from this point forward not to believe anything that says “sources say. . . “ until you look to see if there are even any sources in the first place. This is the first step towards not falling for the “fake news” that is all over the internet and prevalent in our world today.

Could I encourage you to make a couple of other decisions as well? One would be to participate in the “Splash & Dash” race (Nov 17th) that the seniors are hosting to raise money for Care and Share and the Annual Fund. The other is to give to the Annual Fund so that we can put some amazing playgrounds on this campus that will provide a place for our children to dream big and play creatively.

Next week we will actually look at the topic that started me down this decision making road in the first place. For now, I would encourage you to make the decision to have a great weekend.

Written by Karl Steinkamp

Karl Steinkamp is passionate about Dalat International School and training up young people. Karl was a student at Dalat and returned with a degree in education as a student teacher, high school principal, and now Head of School since 2006.
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