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How to Think Quickly yet Critically to Make the Right Decisions

How to Think Quickly yet Critically to Make the Right Decisions

Do you have problems making decisions?

If yes, don’t worry, as this is a very common issue.

Despite having to make thousands of decisions everyday, it’s likely that no one ever taught you about decision making.

However, as you’ll soon see, decision making is something that can definitely be learned. Instead of being apprehensive about making decisions – you’ll find yourself looking forward to it.

Making Good Decisions Is Hard, But Why?

Step back in time, and imagine a scenario where you were forced to make a quick decision.

Perhaps you were negotiating the purchase of a new car, considering a job offer, or choosing a last-minute holiday package. All of these situations would have tested out your decision making prowess.

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Studies have shown that it’s harder to make the right decisions when we are suffering from anxiety, stress or time pressures.[1]

As an example, if you’re anxious about a situation (such as navigating through an unfamiliar city), then your brain is likely to direct you towards the safest options. Unfortunately, these options may not be the best choices.

Good Decision Makers Are Often the Winners in Life

For sure, you can go through life by making below-par decisions.

However, if you want to excel in your career, boost your finances and live an organized and happy life – you’ll definitely need to be able to make good decisions quickly.

I’m guessing that you probably encounter daily or weekly situations where you need to make important choices or decisions. If you don’t know how to think critically (I’ll explain more about this in a moment), then you’ll be leaving your fortunes to lady luck, rather than forging your own path in life.

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” – Tony Robbins

Critical Thinking will boost your decision-making power

If you’re unfamiliar with the term critical thinking, I’ll give you a straightforward definition: Thinking that is open-minded, clear, rational, and uses evidence to reach a conclusion or answer.

Making the right decisions usually requires a combination of knowing how to think quickly and analytically.

Let’s take a look now at three ways you can boost your decision-making powers.

Prioritize your decisions.

Becoming a great decision maker starts with knowing which decisions are the most important or urgent.

Many of us have a tendency to prioritize decisions that we’re comfortable or good at making – rather than taking on more challenging decisions. The problem with this is obvious. The big, important decisions that require our attention are pushed aside and neglected.

To change this behavior, consider creating a daily list of decisions that you need to make, and then ordering them by priority.

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Create mental space to allow superior decision making.

If like most people, your mind is cluttered by a relentless stream of news, gossip and information, then you’re likely to find that decision making is harder than it should be.

You must find time and space for your mind to dwell on choices, and to quickly reach decisions. There are several simple ways you can do this, including: taking a walk in the park, enjoying a relaxing bath, and turning your focus to a subject other than the one you need to decide on.

By doing one of the above actions (or something similar), you’ll give your mind breathing space to work subconsciously on reaching a decision. You’ll also be putting aside any pent-up anxieties or concerns about making a decision.

Develop a flexible mental approach.

Organizations and individuals who are stuck in a rut can often be heard using the following expression: “I/We always do it this way.” It’s no wonder they have great difficulty in making tangible progress.

To be a great decision maker, you must be willing to be flexible and open-minded. As Albert Einstein cleverly said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

The trick is to step outside of your normal thinking patterns. Instead, seek fresh, inspired answers by letting your mind be creative and free. As an example for you, if you normally take days over a major decision – why not try reducing this time to hours?

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To boost your success, think quickly, think critically

Thinking quickly just takes practice. In time, as your confidence builds, you’ll be able to make almost instant decisions about day-to-day matters.

For more important decisions, however, you should turn to critical thinking methods.

These can be summarized as follows:

  • Recognising the links between ideas.
  • Approaching problems in a systematic and consistent manner.
  • Identifying errors and inconsistencies in reasoning.
  • Determining the relevance and importance of ideas and arguments.
  • Using evidence to reach conclusions and decisions.

To illustrate the points above, picture yourself running your own business. You’ve had some initial success on your own, and you’re now considering hiring someone to help you grow the business further.

To reach a decision on this, firstly, you could write down the pros and cons of employing someone. You could then take it a stage further, by looking at the likely financial benefits and potential risks of taking someone on board. Finally, you could research similar businesses to yours, to see if they were able to successfully expand by hiring staff.

Successful people know how to make everyday decisions quickly. However, they also know how to pick out vital decisions that need more time and focus.

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By learning critical thinking, you’ll boost your confidence in making decisions. This will naturally lead to boosting your success and happiness in life.

Featured photo credit: Pixabay via pixabay.com

Reference

More by this author

Craig J Todd

Freelance Writer helping businesses and people to thrive.

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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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