The human brain is inexplicable. Our lives are challenging us, daily, to take decisions in a matter of seconds. It’s well known that we are habitual creatures and 40% of your life goes on autopilot. Can you imagine that? Almost half of our lives we are doing things out of habit. Since we’re babies we are taught how to live. Is your habit really yours, or maybe it’s actually your mum’s, dad’s, or a close friend’s?
When we grow up, we are facing so many choices and each choice comes with a decision to make. So the brain, then, opens the drawer with all of your files, gathered from your experience, observations and opinions you’ve heard, and makes a decision. It’s so much safer to relate to prior experiences, rather than jump into the unknown and face new challenges. Which means that the decisions we make today, are based on our past. Quite unfortunate.
Imagine how this may affect your business. I wouldn’t say that’s the best move. The good news is that you can actually train your brain to take into account your current circumstances only. Meaning, it doesn’t open the drawer but uses what’s on the desk only.
It sounds easier than it actually is. What you need to do the next time you are about to make a decision, is to stop for a second and examine the situation more deeply.
The opportunities checklist
Presented in Harvard Business Review, the opportunities checklist assists you in making a decision by ranking five key factors:
- - Your talents- does this opportunity will allow you to demonstrate your unique skills?
- - Benefits- is this opportunity worth the investment and does it align with your values?
- - Development- will it help you grow and learn?
- - Appreciation- will you be able to help others?
- - Continuity- will it help you reach the next milestone, and the next one? Or is it a dead end?
What you have to do is to rank each of the items above from -1 to 5. If your answer is yes, score a four or five. For example, if this opportunity allows you to solve other people’s problems than it’s a 5. However, if it somehow discriminatory or unethical, it deserves -1. Once you are done with each factor, if your final score is 15 or more, you should probably decide to go for it. Therefore, if it falls below, you better move on.
However, sometimes we are so ignorant, that we don’t even notice when we need to make a decision. We just choose the easy path, automatically, by habit. The first and most important step is to make yourself conscious at all times. Track every thought that comes to your mind and if it’s not empowering, ignore it. It may take a while, and it should, because this means you are making efforts. This is the only way to train your brain to appreciate what’s currently good in your life and use it, as a fuel, to expand your opportunities and open new doors.
You don’t have to think twice if you are offered an opportunity that not only will help you expand your business while helping others, but will open many doors thereon and will allow you to be your true self at the same time. It sounds, concurrently, so exciting and intimidating. The opportunities checklist helps you to recognise what’s truly right personally for you and no one else. It supports you in making your own blueprint of success.
In conclusion, let me give you an example and prove that reading this article, was probably one of the best decisions you have made today.
It’s educational, motivational, and inspires you to think about your skills that may help others. It, also, opens a door for you to a new way of positive thinking that will eventually lead to a happier, more fulfilled life. What a great new opportunity for you to explore, that would help you grow your business. So, write those 5 criteria down and start training your mind to always make the best choices from now on.
Author: Darina Kosta