Everyday we all have to make hundreds of decisions but do you stop and think about what influences the process how we can improve the quality of these choices?
Stress, anxiety, burnout, a constant sense of underachievement and tasks half done. It’s rare to open your email or social media account without there being an article about how our lifestyle is impacting our health, our relationships and our entrepreneurial abilities but what do we do differently as a result of all this advice?
This theme has recurred many times over the last few weeks, so much so I felt compelled to not just add it to my “ideas for blog” list but to actually write something!
Last month I was at a talk by Brad Burton (Founder of 4Networking) who posed the question, “What is your most valuable business asset?” The replies were many and varied although there was a clear winner and that was "you", and more specifically your ability to make quality decisions.
In all areas of life, your ability to make quality and timely decisions has a huge impact on your success. Think back to turning points in your life when a decision has led to both positive or negative outcomes. Is there a common theme in terms of the outcome of the decision?
What is universal is that stress has a massively detrimental effect on your ability to make good quality decisions, in a timely manner.
There has been a lot written about how we make decisions. Daniel Kahneman, in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, describes two systems:
System 1 is an intuitive-based "automatic" system that can be summarized as fast thinking.
System 2 is an "effortful" system — a slow-thinking system that requires an effort (and some time) for us to arrive at the answer.
Whilst trusting our intuition can sometimes be the right option, system 1 can also be biased, emotional and simplistic. System 2 is more reasoned, considered, analytical and rational. However, once activated it can also rather hog the limelight.
There is, of course, a time and a place for both systems but it is important to be aware that we are often far less rational than we think we are.
And finally to Fjaka!
As some of you will know, I spend a fair amount of time in Croatia and one of the many things I love about the country and the people is their ability to put things into perspective and to focus on the things that really matter.
Many times during my stay I will get asked the question:
“ Louisa, shall we take a coffee?!”
What has this taught me? Firstly, I must accept the fact that once again my name is considered to be a man’s name and I will now be called Louisa but more importantly it brings me back to consider the merits of taking some time before rushing into discussions and action.
The Croatians have a term, Fjaka, which was explained rather eloquently in a recent article in the Dubrovnik Times. What is Fjaka? Well, it refers to being truly in the moment.
"To sit in the sun for a while. Relax. Watch the sea. Don’t think about what to write or where to go. Don’t think about tomorrow or even tonight. Turn your phone off. You have no goals for the next few hours.”
I wonder, shouldn’t we all make time to take a coffee and would this improve our ability to make quality decisions?