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A Mindful Approach to Better Decision Making

Matt Vincent Jan 11, 2021 3:52:25 PM

I was talking with a client the other day and the conversation went something like:

“I’m pissed off, I had three pending sales, one backed out because they couldn’t afford it, another competitor cut my lunch, took what I had done and gave the client a discount to get the sale.”

“But, what I am most pissed off about is the third person who contacted me wanting to take some time to consider the deal. I told them if you don’t trust what I have done then you don’t trust me so find another supplier. The reality is that if I wasn’t so pissed off I believe I would have gotten that sale”.

I’m sure everyone can relate in some way to my client’s story.

So often we are caught up in the thought and emotion from what has happened or what we are preparing ourselves for, that we are never present with the reality of the current moment.

This autopilot state has a massive impact on the quality of decisions that we make in business and in our personal life.

How can we rescue our decisions from this autopilot state?

One solution is mindfulness & meditation. For anyone who is not familiar with mindfulness, a gentlemen Sam Harris (a thought leader with qualifications in Philosophy and Neuroscience) sums it up quite nicely:

"Mindfulness’ is a quality of mind which allows you to pay attention to sights, sounds, sensations and even thoughts themselves, without being lost in thought and without grasping at what is pleasant and pushing what is unpleasant away”

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Going back to my client’s story, if he was aware of his anger and not all tangled up in the thought around what had happened he could have approached the reality of the third sale with a completely fresh slate. What had happened previously or what he thought may happen should not have had any weight or impact on what was going on in that current moment when he reacted and lost the sale.

I appreciate that the example is a simple one with easy to define emotion, thoughts and reactions. What we need to consider are the less obvious thoughts and emotions that are underpinning the quality of our decisions and the massive impact a greater awareness of these can have in all aspects of our lives.

I don’t profess to be an expert in mindfulness & meditation, however, I am and will forever be a student.

A great place to start are some basic guided meditations. If you are able to meditate for 10 minutes a day for one whole week I believe it will become abundantly clear the impact that this can have on the decisions you make.

There is plenty of variety out there and for those of you who love an App like I do, I’d suggest taking a look at Headspace or Waking Up. Both have unpaid trial versions to get you started.

Headspace have also recently teamed up with Netflix to create a new animated series: Headspace Guide to Meditation which could be for you if you are typically drawn to visual representations. Each of the 8 episodes are roughly 20 minutes long and go through different tools and the science behind meditation.

If you’d like to learn more about some strategies and techniques or share your own experiences with a mindful approach to decision making please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

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- Matt Vincent

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