Advertising
Advertising

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Grow in Wisdom

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Grow in Wisdom

The dictionary defines wisdom as the “state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action and having sagacity, discernment, or insight.” Wisdom is also knowledge of what is proper or reasonable, and is gained by having many experiences in life.

The famous King Solomon stated that wisdom is more profitable than silver, yields better returns than gold and is more precious than rubies. Solomon’s perspective of wisdom is my favorite.

Advertising

Why is wisdom desirable and so valuable? There definitely seems to be a positive correlation between wisdom and wealth, respect as well as fame.

How does one get wisdom? Can it be found in textbooks or taught in schools? Is it found in experiences or is it passed on? Gaining wisdom is a combination of all the above and a little bit more.

Advertising

Want to get more of this precious entity called wisdom? See these time tested and demonstrable principles of gaining more wisdom.

1. Desire and seek it

This is so obvious that it is often overlooked, but the first step to gaining wisdom is to desire it and see its high value. It is pretty much the same way as a merchant values fine pearls and seeks them out. Desire puts you in the state of mind that propels you to seek wisdom and therefore create an enabling environment for wisdom to thrive. Napoleon Hill rightly said, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement. Not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything.” Desire therefore leads to the right action.

Advertising

2. Get out of the cave

In the Allegory of the Cave, wisdom is depicted by Plato as getting out of the cave and coming to see things as “they really are.” To gain wisdom, entrepreneurs and businesses must constantly step out of their world and study how people are behaving, and how they respond to various stimuli both in the business field and their personal lives. Observation in all its simplicity is only practiced consistently by a few.

3. Intentional thinking

The more we think, the smarter we get. There is a difference between thinking and worrying. Worrying dwells excessively on the problem and gets stuck in the paralysis of analysis. Thinking puts the problem and the solution on the same path. Deliberate thinking is single minded, highly focused and goal oriented. It is training the mind to put a particular subject or situation under rigorous mental scrutiny. Thinking for it be effective therefore needs to be deliberate and disciplined, with time set aside in our daily routine to just think. Of course, we all occasionally get those “A-ha” moments. However, deliberate thinking produces wisdom and leads to creativity. The more we make thinking a habit, the wiser we get. Edward de Bono said, “Intelligence is something we are born with. Thinking is a skill that must be learned.”

Advertising

4. Be insanely curious.

This naturally follows from a habit of intentional thinking. Curiosity may have killed the proverbial cat, but it is the fuel of great innovators and brand champions. Leonardo Da Vinci attributed most of his genius to his sense of curiosity. He often roamed the countryside, asking lots of questions and searching for answers to things he did not understand. “These questions and other strange phenomena engaged my thought throughout my life.” Curiosity leads you to asking why, which in turn leads to answers, produces great results and adds to wisdom. Apples have always been falling off trees. However it was only the great and insanely curious English scientist Isaac Newton in 1666 who asked why. Before then, no one had asked any questions. His curiosity and study led to the discovery of the now famous law of gravity.

5. Have a mission mindset & sense of purpose

Plato, the first Utopian thinker, wanted to reform society. He created a special school called the Academy with a singular purpose to create not celebrities but great thinkers and ‘guardians’ who would reform and transform society. Steve Jobs wanted to change the way the world used technology, and in the process make “a dent in the universe.” Bill Gates had a vision of putting a computer in every home. Ted Turner was laughed at when he first thought of an all-news TV channel. For such a tiny woman, Mother Teresa had a big vision to change the world, one person at a time, working with poorest of the poor. We all know about Martin Luther King who had a dream that one day.

We all applaud these individuals and credit them with great wisdom. When you have a mission bigger than yourself, a strong sense of purpose and an unflinching reformist agenda, your wisdom level increases. We all live under the same sky, but we don’t all have the same horizon,” said Konrad Adenauer.

Wisdom then is the deep inner knowing. Wisdom is made up of what we know and what we do not know and embracing the gaps in between. We can all grow in wisdom and, with wisdom, we can each create our own special place under the sky.

More by this author

Dr Phil Osagie

Writer & Public Relations Strategist

5 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Grow in Wisdom

Trending in Brain

1 What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It) 2 How to Unleash the 4 Types of Creativity In You 3 What Are Creative Problem Solving Skills (And How To Improve Yours) 4 How to Improve Memory: 7 Natural (and Highly Effective) Ways 5 9 Types of Intelligence (And How to Know Your Type)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 22, 2020

What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It)

What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It)

Have you ever taken so long trying to solve a problem that you just ended up going around in circles? How about trying to make a major decision and just freezing up when the time to decide came?

You might have found yourself gathering too much information, hoping it will help you make the best decision—even if it takes you too long to do so. This probably led to many missed opportunities, especially in situations where you needed to act on time.

Nobody wants to make the wrong decision. However, delayed decision making can have a hugely negative impact on all aspects of your life—from your personal relationships to your career. Delaying important decisions can be the worst decision of all.

At one point or another, people get stuck at a decision impasse they can’t seem to overcome. This is due to a mental blindspot called information bias, informally known as analysis paralysis.

Analysis Paralysis and Stalled Decisions

Information bias, or analysis paralysis, is our tendency to seek more information than is needed to make decisions and take action.[1] It is one of many cognitive biases that cause us to make mistakes during the decision-making process.

A related cognitive bias is the status quo bias, which is our tendency to prefer that things stay the same and fear any changes.[2] Together with analysis paralysis, these two dangerous judgment errors pose a threat to our successful navigation through our rapidly-shifting world.

Consider what happened to Lily, a consulting client of mine who’s a mid-level manager in the UX department of a large tech company. Lily had been there for 5 years and was thinking about switching to a startup after a couple tried to recruit her.

Advertising

However, she had been taking a lot of time making a decision. In fact, before she contacted me, she had already gathered information and talked to a lot of people for 7 months. Realistically, more information won’t sway her decision, but she kept trying to gather more information.

And then, there was the technology company that came to me after their growth started to decline. The company had initially experienced rapid growth with a couple of innovative products. However, its growth started to decrease—unfortunate, but not unexpected.

Essentially, the company’s growth followed the typical S-curve growth model, which starts as a slow and effortful start-up stage. This is followed by a rapid growth stage, then a slowdown in growth, often following market saturation or competitive pressure or other factors. This is the point where the company’s existing products reach maturity.

However, even before a slowdown hits, forward-thinking companies would innovate and change things up proactively. This is so they could have new products ready to go that would maintain rapid growth.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with this particular tech company. Not only did they not address the potential decline but once the company’s growth stalled, the leaders dug their heels in and stayed the course. They kept on analyzing the market to find the cause of the problem.

Worse, a couple of executives in the company proposed launching new products, but most of the leadership was cautious. They kept on asking for guarantees that the products would be a success, demanding more information even when additional information wasn’t relevant.

Both Lily and the tech company remained paralyzed by too much information when they should already have taken action. While this situation isn’t unexpected, it is totally avoidable.

Advertising

As I told both parties when they consulted me, all they needed to do was to face analysis paralysis head-on and make a decision. But they had to follow the best decision-making process available first, didn’t they?

8-Step Decision-Making Process to Avoid Analysis Paralysis

I told Lily and the leaders at the tech company that we should never go with our gut if we want to avoid disasters in our personal and professional lives.[3] Instead, I advised them, as I advise you now, to follow data-driven, research-based approaches, such as the one I’ll outline below.

From hiring a new employee, launching a new product, selecting a Zoom guest speaker for your annual video conference to deciding whether to apply for a higher-level position within your company, the following steps will help you fight analysis paralysis and make the best decisions possible.

1. Identify the Need to Launch a Decision-Making Process

This is particularly important when there’s no explicit crisis that cries out for a change or decision to be made. Such recognition is also applicable when your natural intuitions are keeping you from acknowledging the need for a tough decision.

Remember that the best decision-makers take the initiative to recognize the need for decisions before they become an emergency. They also don’t let gut reactions cloud their decision-making capacity.

2. Gather Relevant Information From a Wide Variety of Informed Perspectives

Listen especially to opinions you disagree with. Contradicting perspectives empower you to distance yourself from the comfortable reliance on your gut instincts, which can sometimes be harmful to decision-making. Opposing ideas also help you recognize any potential bias blind spots, and this allows you to come up with solutions that you may not have otherwise.

3. Paint a Clear Vision of Your Desired Outcome

Using the data gleaned from step 2, decide which goals you want to reach. Paint a clear vision of the desired outcome of your decision-making process. You should also recognize that what seems to be a one-time decision may turn out to be a symptom of an underlying issue with current processes and practices. Make addressing these root problems part of the outcome you want to achieve.

Advertising

4. Make a Decision-Making Process Criteria

Make a decision-making process criteria to weigh the various options of how you’d like to get to your desired outcome. As much as possible, develop these criteria before you start to consider choices. Our intuitions bias our decision-making criteria to encourage certain outcomes that fit our instincts. As a result, you get overall worse decisions if you don’t develop criteria before starting to look at options.

5. Generate Several Viable Options

We tend to fall into the trap of generating insufficient options to make the best decisions, and this can lead to analysis paralysis. To prevent this, you should generate many more options than you usually would. Generate several viable options that can help you achieve your decision-making process goals. Go for 5 attractive options as the minimum.

Keep in mind that this is a brainstorming step, so don’t judge options no matter how far fetched they might seem. In my consulting and coaching experience, the optimal choice often involves elements drawn from out-of-the-box options.

6. Weigh These Options and Pick the Best One

When weighing your options, beware of going with your initial preferences. Try to see your preferred choice in a harsh light. Also, do your best to separate each option from the person who proposed it. This minimizes the impact of personalities, relationships, and internal politics on the decision itself.

7. Implement the Option You Chose

For implementing the decision, you need to minimize risks and maximize rewards, since your goal is to get a decision outcome that’s as good as possible.

First, imagine that the decision completely failed. Then, brainstorm about all the problems that led to this failure. Next, consider how you might solve these problems, and integrate the solutions into your implementation plan.

Next, imagine that the decision absolutely succeeded. Brainstorm all the reasons for success and consider how you can bring these reasons into life. Then, integrate what you learned into implementing the decisions.

Advertising

Finally, develop clear metrics of success that you can measure throughout the implementation process. This will enable you to check if you’re meeting the goals you identified in step 3. It will also help guide your goal-setting process—something to keep in mind when you use this decision-making technique again in the future.

8. Set a Reminder to Use the Process for Future Decisions

Regularly check if it’s time to employ the decision-making process once again. As discussed in the first step, there may be times when there’s no explicit crisis that cries out for a change, even though underlying issues might already be signaling that it’s time for a tough decision.

Setting a reminder—perhaps a visual one such as a note on your desk, or even just a scheduled alert on your phone—will ensure that you can catch decision-making cues before they’re due.

While Lily and the tech company initially had to fight off a lot of discomforts when using the process, they were ultimately rewarded with sound decisions they were immensely satisfied with.

This battle-tested method will do the same for you. It will certainly propel your decision-making and, at the same time, help you thwart analysis paralysis and avoid decision disasters.

Conclusion

Nobody wants to make the wrong decision, but you also don’t want to take too long and miss opportunities. By using a data-driven and research-based approach to decision making, you can nip analysis paralysis in the bud and make the best decisions.

More Tips to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Featured photo credit: Muhmed El-Bank via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next