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Life Coaching, Applied Game Theory and Making Effective Choices

Virtually all functional decision-making problem solving, political science, sociology, philosophy, and game based strategic thinking is based on the idea that the decision makers involved are thinking rationally. A particular form of rationality is “instrumental rationality”, which involves seeking the most cost-effective means to achieve a specific goal without reflecting on the worthiness of that goal. Gary Becker, the Nobel Prize winning economist, was an early proponent of applying rational actor models more widely.

Rational choice theory presents ideas on rationality in a form of specialized language*, thus, the rationality here is quite narrow as opposed to the colloquial and most philosophical use of the word “rational” which typically means “sensible”, “predictable”, or “in a thoughtful, clear-headed manner.” In Rational choice theory, the definition of rationality is presented at its most basic level.  Behavior is rational if it is goal-oriented, reflective (evaluative), and consistent (across time and different choice situations). This contrasts with behavior that is random, impulsive, conditioned or adopted by (un-evaluative) imitation.



Ordinary thinkers often assume that individuals make consumption choices so as to maximize their happiness or receive some desirable and useful benefits. Extraordinary thinkers only focus their rational choice on a set of specific axioms that need to be satisfied, without any specification of where the goal (preferences, desires) comes from. This form of rationality mandates a consistent ranking of the alternatives. Individuals choose the best action according to their personal preferences and the constraints facing them. e.g., there is nothing irrational in preferring fish to meet the first time, but there is something irrational in preferring fish to meat in one instant and preferring fish to meat in another, without anything else has changed. Rational choice theorists do not claim that the theory describes the choice process, but rather that it predicts the outcome and pattern of choices.


An assumption often added to the rational choice paradigm is that individual preferences are self-interested. Such an individual can act to balance costs against benefits to arrive at actions that maximize personal advantage. Even proponents of such models, do not claim that a model’s assumptions are an accurate description of reality, only that they help formulate clear and falsifiable hypotheses.

For them, the only way to judge the success of a hypothesis is through empirical tests. Of course, without specifying the individual’s goal or preferences it may not be possible to empirically test, or falsify, the rationality assumption, in which case rational choice theory becomes true by definition (a tautology). However, the predictions made by a specific version of the theory are testable.

One should not necessarily accept rational choice theory as the best or most accurate approach to decision making. In recent years, the most prevalent version of rational choice theory, Expected Utility Theory*, has been challenged by many behavioral economists. Economists are integrating many ideas from other disciplines including psychology and sociology and are enriching their theories of choice in order to get a more accurate view of human decision-making. Much of this comes down to wants and needs.

Still, Rational Choice Theory has become increasingly useful in addressing patterns of decision making in many social sciences other than just economics. This includes political science especially in the study of interest groups, elections, behavior in legislatures, and bureaucracies.



How rational are most of your choices?  Are your choices goal-oriented, reflective (evaluative), and consistent or are you more intuitive behaving randomly, and impulsively?


Recommended Movie:

Double Indemnity:  This 1944  noir film is about Rational choice theory*.  Rational choice theory is one of most dependable explanations of criminal behavior, the rational individual making a calculated choice to engage in crime. It visually demonstrates the cost-benefit analysis of crime.



If you have an interest in having a basic understanding of Applied Game Theory (and you need to) here is an interview I did with James Selman, a pioneer and innovator in Leadership research.

Just click below to watch the entire interview.



Listen here as Lewis explains the RealUGuru Project and how we can give up unnecessary struggle through visionary thinking in this insightful interview with award winning journalist Phyllis Haynes about the RealUGuru Project


Winning The Game Of Life: A Primer On Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theory


Lewis Harrison is the director of the professional Coaching Training Program at the International Association of Healing Professionals


He is  founder of the RealUGuru Project Think Tank is a is a life coach, peak performance expert, writer, mentor, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.


Don’t forget to tune to the RealUGuru Radio show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc.

If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to study with Lewis Harrison. Begin by reading  Lewis’ books.

If you are an entrepreneur you will want to begin with his books on game theory and business success.  Here are two basic ones to start with:



The offerings on RealUGuru.com focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;



This blog is sponsored by the New York City Chair Massage Company at  www.eventschairmassage.com, supplying stress management services to event and meeting planners for trade shows throughout the United States 



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