> As I throw that coin into the air, I often find myself hoping it comes down on one side. That moment reveals what I actually want to do. I ignore the coin result and do what I wanted anyway. The one-second window often reveals what a few hours or days of mulling has failed to uncover.
That's a great advice!
It reminds me on a great radio talk show at Berlin's youth radio "Fritz". It was about hard decisions. The caller stated his or her problem, and talked about it with the moderator. Then, the moderator threw an imaginary dice (some kind of random number generator, plaing the sound of a falling die), and confronted the caller with that "oracle decision". The direct reactions were always revealing: It was either "Great, I'll do that!" or "No! That's bullshit!" ... so either way, that random "oracle decision" helped them to maked the real decision.
Digging back it seems likely that the story has been mangled somewhere from this apposite quote, also popular in the same kind of book:
When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves. In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by the deep inner needs of our nature.-- Freud. This one's real though, it's related by Theodore Reik in "The Inner Experience of a Psychoanalyst", 1949. In context, Reik studied under Freud (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodor_Reik). They met and Reik asked for help in choosing a career, the quote was Freud's reply. There's not a mention of a coin in the anecdote.
Dice Man would be faced with a situation requiring a choice. He would then assign numbers to the options, then roll a dice, and then do whatever the dice said even if it was unpleasant to him.
AlexMuir's version is to assign numbers to the options, then roll a dice / toss a coin, and decide while the coin is still in the air.
I'd reflect on how you got into a situation where those are your two choices :-)
Maccy D's or KFC
Only one choice in the city
Done voicing my pity now lets get to the nitty gritty
(This isn't to say the technique is wrong though, I use it myself.)
This is more an exploitation of the human brain's tendency to romanticize chance than an actual method of decision making. If your decision is so arbitrary that the outcome of a coin toss will mentally satisfy you then you've already made your decision; it's both, just pick one. Theres no magical insight into your soul going on here just whatever you thought of while the coin was in the air. If you had tossed the coin at a different time in the day, or perhaps right after seeing an ad for KFC maybe your 1 second decision would have been different.
Even if my chosen path ends up being slighly longer in distance, the small amount of time gained by this quick process usually makes up for it.
The Chinese practiced this a long time ago - called it 'I Ching'. 'Ching' is the sound the coins make when they hit the table ;)
I mostly do this when I don't know what I want to eat in a restaurant. Find two things that look remotely okay, toss a coin.