What if I told you that there’s a way to lower any risk factor and become more productive only by thinking? Sounds ridiculous? It’s really not, find out more bellow!
Did you ever have that weird feeling that what you are seeing has already happened? “Deja vu” is usually described as “an overwhelming sense of familiarity with something that shouldn’t be familiar at all”, which I think we’d all agree is pretty creepy (What Is Déjà Vu?). The worst thing is that it always comes so suddenly. You are living your normal day working your ass off to realise your dream and suddenly you see a totally random car coming from behind a corner and you get this scary thought that you have seen this somewhere already.
Now, let’s change our perspective a little bit. What if already being familiar with that moment helped you to dodge that car and to save yourself? I know this is a bit too far but bear with me a bit longer.
Imagine going through an unexpected moment completely surprised, stressed and not knowing what to do…
Now imagine going through that exact same moment totally calm, fully observant and creative. How much will your response and your productivity in these two events differ? Before you read the rest of the text, try answering this question in the comments section below!
Now that you have thought about the answer by yourself, let me explain to you the difference in between the two scenarios. Our new friend called Jack who is a business manager in an international corporation has a very important meeting tomorrow. His entire career depends on the result of this meeting. He is so nervous that he starts wondering how could he improve his performance tomorrow. We all can tell that he should stop stressing out about the results, because the enormous pressure will make him only more and more anxious. Apart from that, what else could he do to increase the possibility of his success? The answer lies in the psychological theory called “Bayesian cognition”, which basically says that “even if we have very little data, we can still forecast the future by making assumptions and then skewing them based on what we observe about the world” (Duhigg). Even though the theory might be a bit confusing at first, after giving it a proper thought it starts to make sense. What would happen at the meeting if Jack sat down an evening or two before the day D and thought about the possible roadblocks he might have to encounter at the meeting (or as the theory says, he’d make assumptions)?
We can say for sure that most of his “potential realities” he’d think about would never happen,
but the more issues he solves in his head in these simulations, the higher the probability is that he’d encounter one of those issues fully prepared…
Now can you see the difference? “By pushing yourself to imagine various possibilities – some of which might be contradictory” in order to better prepare yourself for every possible outcome “you’re better equipped to make wise choices” (Duhigg). Once our Jack starts the meeting and gets asked these misleading questions about the financial status of his department or about the new employee that hasn’t been performing well lately, he will already have prepared the answers. This will definitely provide him with the needed confidence. In addition, his creativity levels will be going through the ceiling during the meeting, because he already thought about all the answers, which will allow him to think about further extensions on the issues and thus increase his productivity.
Sounds good, but how can I use it in real life?
As always, it takes time to get used to methods like this. Thus you should take it easy at the start. Try thinking about an argument with someone close to you, your parents, your wife or your friends. Trust me, you will surprise them once they ask you a question and you will follow up with a direct statement and with further evidence proving your statement right. Once you get the hang of it, you can start using it on a daily bases. You can use it in the same way Jack did. Practically speaking, you can use this method to control any argument you expect will occur. Not only that you can win any argument you will encounter, but you can also create a great productive environment around yourself, which can help the people around you as well.
The lesson for today:
- Jack “thought about the possible roadblocks he might have to encounter at the meeting” – Definitely do try this at home. It will make your life much easier in the future. Easier in a sense that you will be able to solve things easily and creatively.
- “ you should take it easy at the start” – There is a difference in between taking it easy and actually starting. You have to start, but in order to learn, you should start with rather simpler things.
- “you can also create a great productive environment around yourself, which can help the people around you as well” – This might be the best way to use your skills. Help others, help them discover this skill so they can help their friends. After some time, more and more people will be aware of this and you will see the difference around you!
Ideas from the book:
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