Blink, Think, Act

Good Monday Morning,

I had an interesting week this past week seeing a number of opportunities with inno360 come to a point of decision and it made me start thinking about how we as people and collective groups of people make decisions.  I guess this discussion is appropriate in the context of the election, as well.

There’s a great book written by Malcolm Gladwell called “Blink” that discusses the cognitive decision making process and those decisions that happen at the ‘blink of an eye’.  That first impression, the judgement that you make when you see someone, read the first paragraph in a book, or experience something.  Somehow we just seem to ‘know’ in that split second what’s right, wrong, good, bad, likable, grating. You get the point.  There’s something inside of us that equips us to make those snap judgements and more often than not, they’re correct.  Whether you call it intuition, instinct, that ‘gut’ reaction, it’s all basically the same. But whatever it is and however it comes about, we all do it.

So, I’m not suggesting that you run out and start making snap decisions or relying solely on your first impression ALL the time; however, what I’m about to propose is that there’s a logical explanation why this type of reasoning works and why the more contemplative reasoning works the same way.  I would argue that like so many other things it’s due largely in part to the foundation that you’ve already built, the experiences that you draw upon, and the immediate rationalization that happens because you “just know”.  It’s like adding three and three and getting six or dividing twenty-eight by seven and getting four.  It was difficult the first several times; but, now, it’s something that comes naturally – we don’t even have to think about it.  We just know.  So, if you think about where you are, your experiences, the things that you’ve been taught in school, by those around you, and through the up bringing that you’ve had, I would argue that you’re equipped to make great decisions and to do that consistently, with resolve, and without question.  In other words, you know ‘the right thing to do’.

Doing the ‘right’ thing is not always easy, though.  Many times we get emotional, succumb to peer pressure, or don’t get all the facts that we need to make a decision.  So, in contrast to those decisions made in a ‘blink’ there are others requiring contemplation, introspection, and discussion.  Evaluation of the situation because it’s important, significant, may have grave consequences, etc.  In those cases, the same basics apply and it’s a simple matter of wading through the noise and examining the true facts and then making a decision based upon that truth.  But, the same precept still applies – once armed with the facts, you will know ‘the right thing to do’.

So, here’s the challenge for the week:  If you’re like me, you’ll be presented with a number of challenges each day that will require you to make a decision. I’m not talking about the inconsequential ones like ‘what to have for lunch’.  I’m talking about the ones that may stop you in your tracks, cause you to say “wow, I never thought of that before,” or some that are just plain tough choices.  When those happen, stop, if you’ve got the experience and can relate to something in the past, likely ‘snap’ you’ll know what to do.  If not, reflect, take your time, collect your thoughts, and think about what you’re going to do, how you’re going to react, etc. I believe that if you try this: slow down, take a deep breath, think about the situation you will know ‘the right thing to do’.

And then – before you act, challenge yourself:  “I know the right thing to do…will I do the right thing”.

I believe that in all things  – You know the right thing to do. And, you will do the right thing.

God bless & have a great week.

September 2012