Bridie’s story raises a very important factor in personal decision making: influence.

Most decisions you make are made under the influence of other people, especially figures of authority. This skews what you take into consideration, based on the other people’s ideas and priorities.

Of course it may be that these other people are perfectly in tune with you and only have you own best interests at heart. But another person will have their own stuff going on and that affects how they influence you. They may strongly feel that it would be in Bridie’s interest to go to university because they hadn’t and regretted it – not because it would actually be right for her.

 

The other factor is that most influence is applied in the form of a conversation. Conversations normally take an adversarial format in which one person puts forward a view and another person opposes it. It’s very subjective and there is a lot of subliminal influence going on as well in the form of tone of voice, body language and personal power. Rarely do conversations provide a perfectly neutral environment for weighing up the pro’s and con’s rationally and really testing how you genuinely feel about something.

This is one reason why Bridie liked the LifeEditor; because there was no external influencer, no one trying to persuade her of their point of view, pushing her in one direction or another. It was just her, answering an independent set of questions just for herself. It felt like she had consulted someone, but the only person she had consulted was her true self.