Making sound and smart business decisions, even under easy circumstances, can be no simple feat. Top that with having to generate important business decisions in an adverse environment, as some of us know, it can be even more cut throat.
Regardless of what is going on around you, though, having a clear mind, strategy, and a fair amount of patience will always be key in the art of decision making. If you need to make a good business decision under tough factors, then you’ll also need other attributes to turn to like resilience, stillness, detachment, and luck.
Your mind is not always going to be in the best state to solve complex problems on the fly, irrespective of whether the circumstances you’re facing are easy or tough. But as you might imagine, when things are hard, the burden will really be on your mind. So how do you shape your mind so that it’s prepared to make the toughest choices? Well, a lot of it depends on the fundamentals of clear thinking.
1. Eat and Drink Right
To elevate your mind, you need to focus on what you’re feeding it (or, rather, what you’re feeding your body). It can be easy to not take seriously, but nutrition has a major impact on our ability to focus and absorb information.
For example, numerous studies point out that a child’s ability to succeed in school is dependent on their nutrition. In a recent study by Healthcare, their findings demonstrated a positive association between diet and academic achievement, where students who consumed consistent meals, including breakfast, as well as students who reported more consumption of fruit, were found to have an overall higher academic achievement.
Both caffeine and water also work hand in hand in aiding our brains function too! Data from Harvard shows drinking enough water enhances sleep, mood, cognition, motor skills, memory, and attention. Coffee can also be crucial when needing to stay focused and alert amidst a fast paced working environment. It also helps improve cognition, memory, and attention similar to the effects of water. Plus, just the smell of coffee alone can reduce stress levels!
2. Ask Yourself, “What’s Most Essential?”
In Greg McKeown’s phenomenal book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg encouraged readers to ask themselves the important question of, “What’s most essential?” It is a key concept as it relates to business.
In the business world, executives are often forced to multitask trying to get their work done while also focusing on perfecting their product, keeping their c-suite happy, making sure their customers are happy, and keeping themselves sane and centered. There’s a lot to juggle on any given day. So, what do you do?
Well, to ensure your mind is in a place where it can guide you into making tough business decisions, you need to identify the most essential objectives and the most essential projects and tasks that will support those objectives. In other words, don’t get caught up in distractions. Focus on what’s most important instead.
How do you not get distracted you may ask? The practice of meditation can be extremely helpful. There is a reason it’s highly touted among countless influential leaders and entrepreneurs like Jack Dorsey, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Oprah Winfrey. The heightened mindfulness created from practicing meditation can help to easier identify and fix problems.
Mindfulness meditation can both help with diagnosing and treating the challenging issues in business. According to research at INSEAD and The Wharton School, one 15 minute breathing meditation may help people make smarter, more efficient choices. “We found that a brief period of mindfulness meditation can encourage people to make more rational decisions by considering the information available in the present moment,” explains researcher Andrew Hafenbrack.
3. Surround Yourself With Effective Thinkers
One easy way to frame your mind to make effective business decisions is to surround yourself with effective thinkers. Ideally, these can be people nearby physically or even virtually if need be (as we’ve learned from the pandemic).
These thinkers can be co-workers, mentors, or friends. You’ll want to talk with these individuals about the things you’re going through in your business. Ask for their feedback, input, and see if you can game out your situation with them. The more you can engage with effective thinkers, the more effective you will think.
This is because the brain feeds off of good energy and intelligent conversations. If you can’t meet with these people in person, then try to do so virtually. With the massive hit from COVID-19, we were forced to discover more creative ways to meet and interact with one another. If introducing yourself in person is usually nerve wracking, I highly suggest looking for virtual happy hours to take the edge off!
If your network is extremely small and doesn’t have any people you can speak with, try to listen to good podcasts, read books, read magazine articles, or watch interesting YouTube videos. It’s all about fueling your brain with good thinking so that it can absorb it and try to emulate it in its own way.