Getting close to Easter and we’re finally seeing some signs of spring breaking the frosty grip of winter here in Sweden. For me as a golfer there might even be a slight hope of getting to hit the first shots of the year during the holiday. Spending uninterrupted time with family is another treat to look forward to.
Not to mention the upcoming seminar ”Simpler Than You Think!” together with Dr. Aaron Turner on Sep. 20-21. If you want to come and join us as we go behind the theories and superstitions for a deeper exploration of what’s really driving your success just send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. This understanding will give you a basis to raise your game across the board in any field…
This month I take a little deeper look into how we make decisions. What if you could guarantee that we always made the possible ones? That would be fantastic wouldn’t it? Now, nobody can predict the future, but after reading this months letter I hope that you will have a better understanding of where your best decisions come from. That in turn will make you look in a useful direction and get as close as possible to making the right choices. Curious? Scroll down, read and…
Happy Easter to all of you,
Quote of the month
" Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic. "
- Edward de Bono
Have you ever stood before a decision and felt like the proverbial donkey between two haystacks? I think we all have at more times than we might care to admit. No matter if it was because of trivial things like what sweater to buy, which restaurant to go to or maybe more important stuff like what job or education to choose. Either way, if you’re human these situations probably arise on a pretty regular basis.
Should we change jobs or stay, break up or open our hearts even more, eat fish, meat or vegetarian, go right or left, up or down, sell or buy… Life can easily feel like it’s a relentless tide of decisions to be made. So, my guess is that most of you would agree that anything that could help us understand our decision making process and make it better has the potential to both make our life easier and lead us on to more success.
Thus, it should come as no great surprise that I, working as a professional success coach for the last 16 years, have put quite a bit of effort into studying human decision making. Because if there is one thing that seems to be a common theme among coaching clients it’s something along the lines of: How can I make sure that what I choose is the right thing and will lead to what I want? As if I had a magic crystal ball and knew their innermost desires better than themselves.
Which of course didn’t stop me from giving it my best to try and help them. After all, I had studied everything from internal value systems to decision making trees and dozens of state management techniques in between. Since they all promised to help anybody make more timely, well-founded decisions it should be just the ticket for success and a better life, right?
However, the insights I got after getting a glimpse of the Three Principles made me realize that they were all, though well intentioned, barking up the wrong tree. That quite to the contrary the more we tried to intellectually reason with ourselves the more muddled up our ability to make a useful decision becomes. Not to mention the fact that we all have an inner wisdom that will make better decisions for us than any outside ”expert” ever can.
This might all sound a little ”fluffy” and hard to implement. Who wants to know that the strategies out there just seem to work? Give me something I can use, right? Now, since there is really no strategy to what I’m getting at, but rather a sense of where your best decisions are coming from, let me illustrate with an example that will hopefully give you some food for thought:
A while ago I asked a CEO that I’m coaching what insights he had noticed since the last time we met. Considering that he had mentioned that his relationship with his wife had gotten more loving, his stress level had gone down and that he felt more at ease in his own body since we started our coaching, I was hoping for something amazing (which shows you how lost in my thoughts I were;-) So, imagine my surprise when he quietly said: The best thing that’s happened since we last met is that I have realized that I haven’t ever made any good decisions…
I don’t know about you, but that really didn’t sound all that positive to me. Especially coming from someone who I knew had made lots of superb decisions to get to where he was. So naturally, I asked him to elaborate a little. His answer actually helped me and is the reason that I’m writing this coaching letter, so I want to share it here:
”Every time that I have chosen to do something that turned out really good it felt more like an obvious thing to do. Other people might have felt like it was smart, brave and cunning, but I just realized that it never really felt like a decision at all. Whenever it has come to that intellectual point where it has felt like a decision to be ’made’, i.e. that I try to convince myself with arguments for and against, it has never turned out any good. Fact is, all the decisions that I have ever regretted came from that place. The ones that just felt obvious to do are the ones that turned out better than I even could have imagined.”
There was something about the way he said it that really resonated with me. Because this has been my experience when I chose which club to hit a certain shot with on the golf course. Or, when I really without deciding naturally glided away from being professional golfer to become a coach and professional speaker instead. The best decisions have kind of been made without any sense of a pivotal decision process.
Same goes for the other successful people that I have had a chance to interview about their best decisions. To a person they say that it came out of some sort of gut-feeling or intuition and that it was only afterwards that they felt they had to intellectually justify the decision at board meetings, press conferences and such. And that came out of not wanting people to think that it was simply based on an ill-founded whim. And this is at the heart of the matter.
Because when we’re making lists for and against we are using our intellect, which is only what we are currently conscious about. Furthermore, that kind of reasoning is usually accompanied by a sense of pressure or urgency. On the other hand, when we trust the effortless feeling of something just being the right thing to do we are using every bit of information that you have ever stored in your system. Everything you’ve learned. Everything you’ve heard, seen and experienced. So, that ”ill-founded whim” is actually the most well-founded and informed decision one can make.
I would even go as far as to say that the quality of your decisions are inversely proportional to the amount of reasoning, pressure and stress that you have to through to make them. In other words, if you need to make list of a potential mates virtues and liabilities before you move in together and you feel ”bad” about it either way, your thinking is not to be trusted. Same goes for any other part of your life.
However, please remember that doesn’t mean that you should ignore information and flip a coin because the less you think the better it is. All I’m saying is that genuine intuition comes with a sense of ease and self-evidence. Because when we feel ill at ease, pressured and stressed we sometimes just want to get it over with and make rash decisions instead. And the result that come out of those we are probably all to familiar with.
So, in conclusion, this month’s invitation is to trust your own intuition or wisdom more. Naturally, get all the information you can, but when it comes to choosing what to trust it’s vitally important to understand your intuition is anything but ill-founded. As long as you know the effortless feeling it comes with when it can be trusted – it’s actually the most well-founded base you can have when it comes to making decisions…
by Jamie Smart
Met up with Jamie in London this weekend and got the inside scoop on how he first wrote a different book only to find out that it didn’t match his newest understanding. What was impressive to me is that he then rewrote the entire book and what came out it is a real gem. As it says on the front cover: Clear mind, Better performance, Bigger results. So, do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy as soon as possible. The information in it truly has the potential to transform your life…
You can find more books under Suggested Reading
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As an integral part of living my vision "to inspire, educate and make a difference in enough peoples private and professional lives to make a positive difference in the world", I write and distribute a free monthly coaching letter. In these I share various ideas, thoughts and insights that I think can be of value for all of you who are interested in getting the absolute best out of life.Read more