This post is an excerpt from Outgrow Your Autopilot, my latest mini-eBook.
In my previous post from last week, I introduced you to the ‘two minds’, why they exist and how the lower-level mind can sabotage your higher-level wants. Today, I’ll narrow down on the higher-level mind and why you should engage it’s mighty power.
Although your higher-level mind, with a modest 5% share in your brain activity, is far less dominant, engaging its conscious awareness, logic and reasoning can significantly increase your chances of making the best possible decision.
Improve your decision making
Its main function is to help you observe and objectively look at yourself and your circumstances. Instead of reacting instinctively and oversimplifying things, it allows you to slow-down your decision making and consider perspectives (new data) of believable people and sources, such as role models, expert(s), interviews and even from your best-self.
”Believable people are those who have repeatedly and successfully accomplished the thing in question and have great explanations of their approach when probed”
Putting yourself in this position will help you to make ‘weighted decisions’. Rather than acting upon what you know and believe to be true, you consistently seek to make the best possible decision based upon a set of non-biased information.
This form of decision making requires you to ditch your ego and instead, enhance an adequate level of open-mindedness. Shifting your focus from who’s is right, to what is right.
The best way to look at your lower and higher-level minds is to consider them as two complementary machines for your decision-making, but operating on different sets of the data, with a contradictory prefered outcome.
Small decisions accumulate into significant outcomes
So, why is this important? Well, if you’re like me, seeking continuous improvement, relying on your lower-level thinking will get you the opposite.
The problem is that we tend to underestimate the impact of making small errors on a daily basis. However, when you do your maths, all your small decisions accumulate into significant outcomes.
”Knowing how to think empowers you far beyond those who know only what to think”
Neil deGrasse Tyson
If this sounds like common sense, let’s find out if your decisions reflect your desire for short spikes of relief, comfort and safety. Or, if you challenged yourself to align them with your preferred identity and the goals in life/business that you wish to achieve.
In the last 3 months…
- When feeling stuck and finding yourself recycling the same experience, how often did you postpone ‘that important decision’, convincing you’re not ready yet?
- When hitting a stumbling block on a project at work, how often did you pull out your phone to check social media, craving for that instant feeling of relief?
- When disagreeing in an important meeting with people you consider smarter, more skilled or worthy, how often didn’t you speak the inconvenient truth in an attempt to please or comfort them?
- When feeling insecure or lonely in a world that looks beyond perfect, how often did you shared a ‘picture perfect’ post to win a sense of social acceptance and praise?
You can probably come up with a few other relevant examples. However, what’s more important is that you become aware of the long- term impact of all these ‘small errors’ that instantly help you to reduce uncertainty, win social acceptance, connect with others, achieve status or any other of your ancient desire.
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
The small daily missteps may seem harmless. But, when you repeat them, by replicating poor decisions, duplicating tiny mistakes, and rationalizing little excuses, they multiply themselves into toxic habits.
In other words, small errors, compound into toxic habits, forming new barriers resulting in a vicious cycle affecting all areas in your life. And eventually, they determine who you are.
My point is, in today’s fast-paced society we often think we can change our lives and improve our results by chasing some kind of external goal, or any other idea of success or happiness.
Meanwhile, we find ourselves running into the same obstacles, over and over again, blinded and limited by the level of our systems. It’s a broken approach and the recipe for unhappy achievers, mediocre performance, and most of our negative emotional and physiological experiences.
If you’re serious about outgrowing your auto-pilot, whatever that may mean to you, engaging your higher-level mind is an absolute must in order to build systems for adequate decision making, improved performance, meaningful relationships and greater fulfilment.
If this topic resonates with you, you may as well want to read the article ‘Outgrow Your Autopilot’, in which I share my perspective and learnings, along with evidence-based strategies and 4 daily practices to help you Outgrow Your Autopilot.
Sign up here to read more.
If you have any questions in regards to this article, feel free to reach out to me.
Furthermore, I’m just a guy sharing his perspective based on my own experiences, along with the studies and work of believable professionals in the industry. I fully expect that I have made a mistake somewhere in this article, in referencing an idea or tool to the wrong person or not at all. I’ve no intention of taking false credits, so if there’s anything not aligned regarding referencing, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org