The Best Decision Making Is Emotional (Jonny Miller Feels)

“The best decision-making is emotional.”

“Hang on a second,” you’re thinking. 

You’ve dated crazy. You’ve lived with crazy. You’ve worked for crazy. You’ve seen emotional decisions lead to objectively bad, morally questionable, and occasionally unspeakable things. 

Me too. But we’re not talking about them. Not today at least. 

Today, we’re talking about people like you. People like us, really. Sane, level-headed, Cultish Creative readers.  

Let’s start over: The best decision-making is emotional. 

In Jonny Miller’s “The Best Decision-Making Is Emotional” post, he explains how somatic markers work. A somatic marker is a fancy word for the feeling of impending death before asking your crush out in middle school. They’re how and why your pits start to sop before a presentation. How thinking about the work you’re not doing while you’re in bed is enough to keep you from crawling out of bed. 

To all this emotional-noise Miller says – pay attention. Somatic markers are a sensation. If unchecked for a lens to see them through, i.e. context, they can misinform the emotion you experience. 

In math terms,

Emotion = Sensation + Context

There’s a ton of literature on this, and Miller’s got links for days, but I’ll say it again: what we’re emoting is directly connected to what we’re feeling and the context we associate with the feeling. 

“Where does it feel however it feels?” is a question my therapist would ask. It’s all coming back to me reading Miller’s post. He’s saying it too. 

Whether you’re trying to figure out what you’re body is telling you, beyond whatever your brain is thinking, OR you’re listening to someone across the table at home, at work, or in line at the store – watch for this. Your somatic markers and theirs. 

The sensations may need contextual framing (or reframing!). 

This is how emotional decision-making is useful. If we have the right context for the sensations we’re experiencing, we can productively orient our actions with the energy of our emotions.  

Watch for the context clues. When used constructively, they can help.