Essay about Making Instantaneous Life Decisions

Submitted By RLSTONE
Words: 983
Pages: 4

Making Instantaneous Difficult Choices
Life Reflection Paper

Things do not always turn out the way that we plan them. This thing called life will bring struggles, distractions and uncontrollable events. While these are not always bad things, they do take us off of one path and alter our life’s plan. It is these unpredictable circumstances that lead us to have to make some difficult choices in life.

In the story “The Skating Party” by Merna Summers, the main character, Nathan, is caught in a complicated love triangle. He first falls in love with Delia, who wins his heart in a mere twenty minutes. He later finds that she is married and unavailable. He finds it impossible to fall out-of-love with her, but is able to put his emotions in check.
He later meets her older sister, Eunice, and although he does not experience as much natural chemistry with Eunice, he wills himself to fall in love with her, proposes marriage and plans a future with her as husband and wife. This choice he makes he is able to do so with deliberation, thought and reasoning. He has a lot of time to contemplate. As the story progresses, while at a skating party on a lake the two women fall through the ice and Nathan is thrown into a situation where is only able to rescue and save one of the women. The choice of whom to save must be made instantaneously with no time for reasoning, thoughtful deliberation or contemplation. The choice is also a matter of life and death. He sees arms reaching for him through the hole in the ice, knows that the fur lined jacket sleeves belong to his fiancé, Eunice, yet he deliberately reaches for the other extending arms and saves the women he has the deepest love for, Delia. How did his mind make this decision?

Gillespie – Page 2

Every one knows that making decisions in life are hard. Decisions made instantaneously are even more difficult. I was watching the television news the other day and saw a story about a house fire in the United States where a father’s two children were caught in a burning house. He could only save one. He chose to save the four year-old girl, and unfortunately her eight-year old brother died. I wondered how the father made the decision he did, and what his thought process was? I wonder what decision I would make in situations similar to this father, or to Nathan.

After the fire incident, people evaluated the decision the father had made. Some reasoned that the little girl was closer to the door and it was more likely he would be successful in saving the daughter. They speculated that maybe the father felt the little boy was older and might have been more capable of saving himself and the father would have had two children that lived. Others gossiped that he loved the daughter more than the son. Of course, all of these speculations and thoughts were reasoned about after-the-fact. In the heat of the moment while the instant decision was being made did the father really have time to process all of this information in the two seconds he had to make the split decision of which child to save? I highly doubt it.

So I wonder how do people make these split-second decisions? Are these decisions random and made without any real conscious thought, or are humans able to make time pressured, high stakes decisions by processing thought faster than we think capable? Are we natural decision makers or do circumstances just take over and the decisions are random? If the decisions are not random, what kind of thought processes do people have when they are making difficult, on-the-spot decisions, and how do they live with their choices later? Do they second-guess