Making Leading Edge Decisions

What Does It Mean To Make A Decision?

What is Decision Making? It’s the process of deciding something based on a logical choice from available options.

When we’re trying to make a decision we take a look at the positives and negatives of the options available, along with considering the possible alternatives. 

After looking at the available options we also must be able to forecast the outcome of the final decision. 

An important factor that’s overlooked that affects decision making is being aware or mindful of our own thoughts and emotions.

Why is Good Decision Making Important?

The cornerstone of good leadership skills is the ability to make a decision and stick to it.

Decision making is an ongoing process in every business regardless of size and also in our personal lives as well. 

Having critical thinking skills allows us to approach a problem and decide on a solution that is beneficial to not only yourself, but to other members of your organization or those close to you in your personal life.

What Influences Our Decisions?

There are a lot of factors that we’re not aware of that can influence the decisions we’re making.

These factors include:

Our Thoughts and Emotions: Our own thoughts and emotions can affect our decisions, not only the nature of those decisions, but also the speed in which they’re made. If your judgement is off due to negative thoughts that lead to anger and make you impatient and cause you to make rash decisions.

Being Hungry: It’s interesting that feelings or states of being can spill over from one area to another. This occurs a lot with our physical desires, for example when we feel hungry or thirsty it can affect the decision areas of our brains. We can feel more desire for big rewards and this can motivate us to make higher risk choices and keep wanting more.

Quality of Ventilation: This is important, because the physical environment can have an effect on our physical and mental health along with our cognitive health. For example when the level of CO2 in your workplace is increased it can cause a decrease in cognitive and mental abilities and lead to poor decision making. It’s a good idea that your work environment has adequate ventilation and plants to decrease CO2 levels.

Number of Choices: Sometimes our ability to make decisions can be affected by the number of choices we have in front of us. When we’re presented with two or more choices it’s easy to look at the pros and cons of each choice. However, if we’re bombarded with endless choices whether we’re car shopping, using dating apps or entertainment apps it leads to a paradox of choice than makes decision making more difficult.

Past Experiences: This is an interesting one. Past experiences can impact present and future decision making. These include events that happened when you’re younger that shape the way you think, act and interact with people close to you.

Familiarity: Making decisions based on factors that are familiar with is deeply entrenched in our minds without being aware of it. We not only like things we’re familiar with, but we fear and judge anything that is different.

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How Being Mindful Leads To Better Decision Making?

Decision making is not always as simple as saying “yes” or “no” and it’s not always a thoughtful or cognitive exercise, instead it can be an impulsive reaction to satisfy immediate needs.

We make decisions everyday about what we eat, when we leave for work, how often we check our smartphones or what assignment to complete. We also make crucial decisions that affect ourselves and others. Many people are not aware how important day-to-day decisions really are until they make the wrong ones. 

Sometimes we fear the unknown so much that we make bad decisions due to fear and anxiety.

Conventional decision making can only take you so far, so it’s important to learn about mindfulness.

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the moment-to-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and the environment around us.

Mindfulness is one of the most powerful tools for understanding your mind and focusing your attention. It can be applied in many ways including:

Mindful Breathing:  Mindfulness involves focusing your attention on your breathing. When you’re focusing on the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation through your nostrils your breath becomes an object of concentration when you start becoming aware of your mind’s tendency to jump from one thought to another.

Finding Your Purpose: Mindfulness makes you more aware of your purpose which leads to a greater sense of direction, a valued sense of self and a more meaningful life. Once you know your purpose you get to decide whether saying “yes” or “no” to a decision will ultimately serve your purpose.

Making Informed Decisions: Mindfulness can make the decision making process a thoughtful and cognitive exercise by making us aware of our impulsivity. For example, it’s important to be informed of the full impact of a decision before it’s made rather than be impulsive and regret your decision.

Finding Balance Between the Heart and the Brain: Overtime we’ve become more reliant on the human brain alone for day to day decisions. It was never meant to be the main source of wisdom and decision making. It has tendencies to push the human body past healthy limits and may result in fear, doubt and insecurities. In my previous post I mentioned that mindfulness puts an emphasis on dropping into your heart space, by doing that the brain and heart balance each other out. The brain receives the information that we make decisions from and the heart incorporates wisdom to help make good decisions.

What Do You Do Before Making Decisions?

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Sources:

https://open.buffer.com/decision-making/

https://www.bachremedies.com/en-us/emotional-health-blog/how-do-our-emotions-affect-decision-making

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/the-psychology-of-choice

https://www.customerservicemanager.com/decision-making/

https://ggia.berkeley.edu/practice/mindful_breathing

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/tracking-wonder/201902/mindful-approach-decision-making

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