When we make our own decisions, we feel really better than when we follow somebody’s opinions or advice in spite of the fact that our emotions can interfere with our reason. For Professor Paul Thagard (2005) of the University of Waterloo both positive and negative emotions have their place and function in relation to reason:
“In sum, both theoretical and practical reasons involve processes of generating alternatives and evaluating them in order to select the best. Both generation and evaluation involve emotions, and the involvement is often positive, when emotions guide the search for attractive alternatives”
Thagard summarizes his position about negative emotions with the following assertions: “To overcome these negative effects of emotions, we need to adopt procedures such as informed intuition that recognize and encourage the contributions of affect to theoretical and practical reason, while watching for the presence of distortions. In addition to being passionately moderate, one should aim to be moderately passionate.”
Risk is also a negative factor that can discourage us from making our own decisions. Christine Van Lenten (2005) in an article entitled “How to Decide; Reason Tackles Risk” deals with this issue in some detail stating with brief words a lot of practical wisdom when she said: “How you decide shapes what you decide”. Instead of taking the risk of making mistakes when following a fallible human being like us, it’s really much better to assume the responsibility of making our own mistakes.