“We cannot think of being acceptable to others until we have first proven acceptable to ourselves.” ― Malcolm X
When was the last time your asked an opinion of a friend, a coworker, a family member or even a stranger? Have you paid attention that we are surrounded by sound and noise all the time. We wake up to the sound of alarm clock, we have a music player in the bathroom, we are listening TV or looking mobile device when we are having breakfast. We are listening to music, talk-show, podcast, or radio when we are driving to work. We are talking to a coworkers, and attending meetings at work. We are listening music on the background when we are reading, writing or working. We are sleeping with mood relaxing music. All in all, we are drowning on sound, noise, chatter, signals, and colors.
All this noise and sounds wants our attention. It is saying pay attention and listen to me.
Have you wondered what happened to yourself and your sound? Where do you fit in this noise and sounds? When was the last time you listened to your own sound, your thoughts, your opinions, and your most inner thoughts? Are you important enough to give yourself a chance to be heard without the other voices?
I am not talking meditations, or religious prayers. When was the last time, you took 5 minutes of conscious thought to listen yourself in silence without other noises on an important decisions? I can bet you don’t remember! If we do it at all, it is always in a subconscious way but not deliberate and directed initiative.
The ability to keep silent and listen ourselves and contemplate upon important decisions without a music, a TV, people or any other sounds present is very powerful but seldom used tool. Here are few points that will help you listen to yourself when deciding an important decision.
- Ambiance: Find a place where another sound will not disturb you (away from people, electronics or other distractions)
- Focus on the important decision: don’t let your brain wander off from the issue and roam freely with other things. Initially, it will be very difficult because you have not practiced it. Try to bring it back anytime it goes wanders off and refocus to the decision subject. You are allowed to go to the branches of the focus decision subject but not unrelated objects or thoughts.
- Take out your body from the equation: This is not a meditation or breathing exercise. It is about looking the problem from different angles such as
- Why am I doing it? What is the purpose? What is the benefit? Is my ego involved?
- What is the end result?
- Thinking the pros and cons
- Taking into account your beliefs and principles
- Thinking about resources and partners you need
- What will happen if you don’t do anything about it
- Who else faced this situation or similar one and how it was handled?
- Am I doing out of fear or vanity?
- Think you are going to die after this important decision! What would you do differently?
- Think what are the most important pieces of information you have? What are the most important information you are missing? Who has the information I am missing?
- Think about what strategies you can use to reach decisions
- Based on habits: I always eat sea food so I am going to decide seafood restaurant
- Based on frequency: If this problem comes back X numbers, I will do such and such.
- Based on history: Others have done this previously and I will do the same.
- Based on outcome: If I don’t act now, I will be fined by X amount of dollars or miss out an opportunity.
These are tools you need to think about while listening yourself and your inner voice without the other noises present. Look, there is nothing wrong listening to experts, friends, coworkers, family and even outsourcing the whole decision making but consider to include your own voice. It is there just give a chance.