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The Physics of Decisions



Let's cut to the chase: Life is full of decisions, especially as a senior in high school. Over the years I have noticed that many people have a difficult time making decisions, so I have decided that I am going to release my decision-making secret, the reason why I can so easily make decisions: I use math.

Making decisions is like momentum (p= mv) , two opposing forces collide, changing the directions of the objects. To make things simple, let's refer to only two balls (aka choices). Each ball has a different mass, which is the equivilancy of importance for you. For example, a math test would probably have a higher mass than going to the movies to see Side Effects (which comes out February 1st ^-^ ). In most cases, the objects/ choices are travelling at different velocities, also known as the personal preference velocity. Using the scenario above, going to see the movie would have a high velocity than studying for that upcoming test. With hat information, there is only one thing left to do: LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE!!!

To find which decision is best, assign one choice as a negative and the other as a postive (it doesn't matter who gets one sign). then, using conservation of momentum, figure out which direxction the objects will go after the collision (you need to use a sticky collision). To show how it would work, I am going to plug in numbers for myself:

mTest= 5 (for economics)

vTest= 7 (since I already have a 88 in the class which is low for me)

mMovie= 2

vMovie= -10

mTestvTest + mMoviesvMovies =(mTest + mMovies )v'

5(7) + 2(-10)= (5 +2) v'

35- 20= 7v'

15= 7v'

v'= 2.14

Thus, the best choice in this situation would be to stay home and study for the test; so I will have to wait to see Side Effects after I get an A on the test.

Well, now you know my secret to successful decisions!

(Warning: with three or more decisions this equation does work but instead of putting it into a collsion, simply compare the momentum of each choice (signs will not matter, so they can all be positive). Which ever momentum is highest is the best choice. And yes, I actually do something like this in my head everytime I have a difficult decision to make. What you think I leave it up to feelings? Physics is the answer to everything!)


Recommended Comments

OMG, this is awesome! Definitely using this later. Not only have you made me more confident, but potentially more decisive ;P I give you credit, my preference velocity has been remarkably low for econ lately... Like, if I drove at the same speed as my preference velocity, I would be passed by pedestrians. Really old, sluggish ones in wheel chairs.

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