Confident Decision Making
By: Brian Tracy
Just imagine that someone gave you a simple but powerful computer that had the capacity to answer any question or solve any problem you would ever face. All you would have to do is properly program the problem into the computer. Then, at exactly the right time, it would bring you exactly the answer that you need; the answer would always be perfectly correct for you.
The fact is that you already have such a computer, and its installed right between your ears. The only real difference between extremely effective men and women and men and women who are not happy with their results is the degree to which they use this amazing computer. The wonderful thing is that you can easily learn to use this computer, and when you do, you will immediately start to benefit by making better decisions and getting better results.
To begin, its important for you to understand that your brain is divided into two hemispheres, commonly called the right brain and the left brain. Extensive research suggests that each part of the brain is responsible for specific functions.
Your left brain tends to be responsible for linear, sequential, orderly and organized functions. It is practical, analytical and skeptical. It is the part of the brain that deals with categories and concrete things. Your left brain deals with the verbal, the mathematical and the scientific. It is the engineering half of the brain, and it is primarily focused on processing facts in a step-by-step fashion.
Your right brain, on the other hand, is very different. Your right brain is holistic and spontaneous. While your left brain deals with individual details, your right brain deals with complete pictures and fully integrated ideas and situations. Your right brain is also in charge of your creative, musical and artistic abilities. It is responsible for dance and singing and laughter. Your right brain is also responsible for the intuitive processes of thinking, feeling, problem solving and decision making.
When you learn to harmonize the operations of both of these brains so they work together in cooperation, you begin to perform at exceptional levels. In fact, men and women begin to become great when they begin to utilize the marvelous capacities of the right brain, especially for making important decisions.
An intuitive decision, one that comes to you from within, is always superior to anything else that you can arrive at by simply considering the facts and details. An intuitive decision integrates all of your knowledge about a subject simultaneously and gives you an answer that is a superior synthesis to anything that you could have worked out in a step-by-step fashion. This is why the men and women who are at the top of virtually all organizations tend to be extremely intuitive in the way they solve problems and make decisions for themselves and others.
Ralph Waldo Emerson called intuition the still, small voice within. This inner voice is like an unfailing guide or mechanism that always tells you the correct thing to do or say. The more you trust it and believe in it, the better and more accurately it works for you. And your ability to use your intuitive decision-making powers precedes and predicts your success and effectiveness in virtually everything you do.
To trigger your intuition and tap into higher levels of your mind on a regular basis, you need to have four mental qualities. The first, as I mentioned, is a complete trust and belief, almost a childlike faith, in your intuition, and the disposition to just go with the flow of your inner mind. Your intuition functions effortlessly and works best when you stop trying to make something happen and instead just let go and accept whatever solution comes to you.
The second mental quality that enables you to use your intuition more efficiently is a positive mental attitude. By this, I mean that you are simply calm, relaxed and cheerful about outcomes. A positive mental attitude has been described as a constructive response to stress and adversity. When you respond in a relaxed, easygoing way, you create the mental climate that enables your brain to function at its best, and this is what triggers your intuition.
The third mental quality for enhancing your intuition is an attitude of confident expectation. The more positive and more confident you are, the sharper and quicker your intuitions and solutions will be. So confidently expect things to go well for you. Look for the valuable lesson in every difficulty and adversity. Seek out the advantage or benefit in each setback or obstacle that you face. Your conscious decision to keep your mind focused on the good parts of your situation, coupled with your refusal to dwell on the negative parts, will give you a mind that functions at its best to help you achieve your goals.
The fourth mental quality for intuitive decision making is listening. Women tend to be better at listening to their intuition than men are. This is probably why womens intuition is so much more respected than mens intuition is. However, both men and women have the same intuitive abilities. All they have to do is listen to them on a regular basis. Most of our mistakes in life result from ignoring our intuition or refusing to listen to our intuition because we think that by doing so, we will be better off. It always turns out to be a mistake.
There are three areas where you can use your intuition continuously to enable you to make better decisions and avoid costly mistakes. The first place where intuition plays a major role is in your personal relationships. Whether it is with your spouse or child or a friend, your intuition will always tell you the right thing to do or say. All you need to do, in any situation, is to quietly turn to your intuition and listen, and then say or do what seems to be the most proper and natural thing to do.
In my experience, one of the major reasons for problems in relationships is that one or both parties are ignoring their intuition and refusing to listen to it or act on it. People get into, or out of, relationships, or make decisions in their interactions with others, even when, deep inside, they know that they are doing the wrong thing. And if ever you do the wrong thing from the standpoint of your intuition, you always create a problem that is bigger and more difficult to deal with than if you had made the intuitive decision at the beginning. Many people actually make themselves physically ill by refusing to follow their intuition and do what they know is the right thing to do.
A second area where your intuitive decision-making capabilities can be extremely helpful is in business. If you listen quietly, you will always get a good feeling, or intuition, about the right thing to do, or not to do, in every business situation. If you are in sales, when you are with a prospect or a client, you can rely completely on your intuition to tell you what to do and what to say, and when you follow it, you will always find that it is the right thing. Many salespeople have told me of their having a sudden impulse to bring up a particular subject in a sales interview, and later finding that it was exactly the right thing to say at exactly the right time. In fact, all top salespeople tend to trust their intuition and listen to it continuously in their sales work.
The third, and perhaps the most obvious, area to use your intuitive abilities is in the area of making choices. Whether you are communicating or negotiating or buying or selling, or accepting or leaving a job, you are always making choices of one kind or another. Some of these choices are not important, but many of them have potentially serious long-term consequences.
Accepting a job, or a salary, or going to work for a particular company, at a particular time, can have a significant impact on the whole direction of your life. Investing or spending or borrowing money for any reason can have significant long-term consequences. Any decision that has results that last long after you have made the decision is the kind of decision to which you need to apply your amazing intuitive powers.
Fortunately, there are some specific steps that you can take to hone your intuitive mind. Select any area of your life, any problem or situation that you are dealing with at the current time, and begin to program it into your mental computer by taking the following steps. First, define your problem or situation clearly, in writing if possible. Your mind cannot go to work to bring you the right answer if the question itself is jumbled up and unclear. Exactly what are you trying to achieve, avoid or preserve? Is it a single problem, or is it a cluster problema problem made up of several smaller problems? Whichever it is, take some time to think it out and describe it clearly on paper so that you know exactly what you are trying to do. This is the beginning of the intuitive process.
Once you have a clear idea of the problem, ask yourself, What else is the problem? Are you dealing with a real problem, or are you simply dealing with a symptom of a deeper problem? Many people try to solve a problem with their dissatisfaction at work or in a relationship, but often, the real problem is that they are in the wrong job or relationship altogether. There is an old saying, There is a price that you can pay to be free of any problem, and you always know what it is. This is just another way of saying that if you listen to your intuition, it will tell you the right thing to do, although the right thing may not be the easy or convenient thing. But you must keep your mind open, in any case.
Once you have defined your problem clearly, begin to research and read and gather information about the problem. Has anyone else had this problem before you? What did he do about it? Dont try to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes a little research will turn up exactly the answer you are seeking.
For several months, two scientists at the IBM research laboratories in Zurich, Switzerland, had been intensely working on the problems of superconductivity. They knew what they were looking for but were making no progress, so they decided to take a break and come back to the problem later. During the break, one of the scientists went down to the company library and began browsing through a French journal on ceramics. One of the articles told of a new ceramic application that had just been developed. It turned out to be exactly the key that the scientist had been looking for. He immediately took the article back to the laboratory, and by applying the principle, they discovered the secret of superconductivity. It was such an important scientific breakthrough that these two men were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics the following year.
Once you have defined your problem clearly and researched it as thoroughly as you can, speak to people who may have information that you can use. Its amazing how much you can learn simply by asking questions of others who may have had similar experiences. If you ask enough people, you can often find yourself in the position of being better informed than any one of them could be, acting in isolation. A friend of mine, who is a management consultant, was employed by a large company to investigate the feasibility of placing a large sum of money in a particular type of real-estate investment. Company executives asked him to evaluate the possibilities nationwide and give them some advice on which direction to go.
First of all, he went to the library and got copies of several articles that had been written in this field over the past few months. After reading the articles, he phoned some of the people and companies mentioned in the articles, and told them he was thinking of investing a large amount of money in this industry. He asked them for their insights and their ideas and what advice they would give. Over the next few days, he spoke to about 30 people in different parts of the country, all of whom specialized in this particular industry. Most of them were quite open to giving him whatever information he required, sometimes sending it via Federal Express, because they looked upon him as a prospective investor.
By the time he was finished with his inquiries, he was one of the most well-informed people on this subject in the United States. He then summarized his findings and recommendations in a detailed report and submitted it to his client, along with a bill of $30,000 for consulting services. The client read the report and paid the bill willingly. And the consultant went on to his next assignment. Your most valuable asset is your ability to think, and to apply your mind toward getting results. The more you utilize your mental capabilities, by doing the things that other successful people do with their minds, the more successful and prosperous you will be, and the faster it will happen for you.
Lets say that you have now defined your problem clearly, read and researched thoroughly, asked others for their advice and input, and written down every single detail of the problem or situation. The very act of writing out all the details often stimulates intuitive breakthroughs that lead to ideas and solutions that are superior to those that are currently being used. Once you have written out the details, go over them several times, and let your mind soak them up so that your right brain is properly fueled to synthesize and integrate all the facts and respond intuitively. If you still have no solution, your next step is to force yourself, discipline yourself, to write out 20 ways in which you think the problem could be solved. Quickly write out 20 solutions, or 20 answers or 20 courses of action, that might be possible. Forcing yourself to think in this way will often trigger your intuition and bring you an answer that will solve the situation perfectly. If you have followed the previous steps and you still have not come up with a solution that satisfies you, take the next step in intuitive decision making, which is called rumination or cerebration. These words refer to the process of dropping all the information into your subconscious mind and then just forgetting about it for a while. During this period, your mind goes to work unconsciously to solve the problem while you are busy doing something else.
When they reach a dead end in problem solving or decision making, many people find it helpful to turn the entire matter over to their subconscious mind and simply ask for an answer. A good time to do this is just before you go to sleep. Sometimes you will wake up in the morning with the answer springing full blown into your mind. In other cases, as long as you keep your mind on other subjects, at a certain point the answer will emerge in its entirety, and you will know exactly what to do.
How do you recognize an intuitive decision? How do you know that this is not simply a decision or a solution that will lead to greater problems in the future? Well, there are four indicators that accompany every intuition-based solution or decision. First of all, if the answer is truly from your intuition, it will come in a flash and be complete in every detail, answering every aspect of the problem, from beginning to end. The solution will integrate all of the various details and answer all of the concerns. Second, an intuitive solution seems so simple that you wonder why you had not thought of it before. It feels like a blinding flash of the obvious. You are amazed at how perfect it is, and you have the feeling that it was lying under your nose all the time.
The third indicator of an intuitive decision is that, whatever it is, the actions required are completely within your capabilities and your resources. The solution will be something that you can do right now, with what you have, right where you are. You can act on it immediately.
And the fourth indicator is that each intuitive flash or solution comes accompanied by a burst of joy and energy, a feeling of elation, that excites you and makes you happy and makes you feel eager to implement the solution. You will be excited, and you will feel terrific about yourself.
Intuitive problem solving and decision making is your key to the future. It is perhaps the most powerful faculty of your brain. And the regular use of your intuitive abilities will make them better and stronger and sharper, until you reach the point where you believe that there is really nothing that you cannot do if you put your mind to it. And youre probably right.