Mindful Humans

THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED ON REVUE GESTION WEBSITE.

Making an informed decision can be perilous. We often face complex situations, time constraints, numerous distractions, and strong emotions.
Mindfulhumans_post21
Fortunately, advancements in neuroscience now offer fascinating insights into transforming the art of decision-making into a science of efficiency.

Our brain, containing over 86 billion neurons, creates circuits that strengthen with experience. These circuits determine our thoughts, movements, and emotions.

Imagine the first time we undertake a new task: our brain, like an explorer, establishes a connection between previously isolated neurons. This initial, fragile neuronal link strengthens and expands with practice, gradually transforming conscious effort into an action that becomes quicker, smoother, and more automatic.

This principle also applies to problem-solving. A solution that is hard to find at first becomes increasingly accessible as experience accumulates. These neuronal highways, once consolidated, transform decisions into reflexes, intuitions, and habits. Such a mechanism allows us to react quickly to familiar situations, our brain opting for paths it already knows. A conclusion then presents itself to us, bypassing intermediate steps of conscious analysis.

However, this efficiency can become a trap. When situations evolve and our neuronal highways remain unchanged, we risk persisting in now erroneous patterns. Our biases and prejudices then take over, short-circuiting a thoughtful analysis of the situation. Consciously recognizing when our usual circuits have the potential to disadvantage us is crucial to avoid errors.

While our neural circuits shape how we respond to familiar situations, they do not operate in isolation: they constantly interact with our emotions and stress levels, which can veer us off course.

Emotions and Stress

When we experience joy, our brain triggers a wave of dopamine that may encourage us to explore new avenues.

However, when under stress, our perception narrows, as a large part of our attention capacity is absorbed by negative thoughts. This creates a tunnel effect that prevents us from considering the full range of our options. We are then less able to respond effectively to complex problems.

Consequently, it becomes evident that the quality of our decision-making largely depends on our ability to observe and analyze the situation clearly (within us, and around us).

But how can we ensure that the solutions emerging in our mind are the most suitable? How can we differentiate a conditioned reflex from a genuinely thoughtful choice?

The key lies in sustained attention to the present moment and the ability to objectively observe things, despite the flow of thoughts and sensations that might otherwise dilute our judgment.

Fortunately, there are ways to cultivate such faculties.

Train our brain

Training Our Brain Just as weightlifting develops muscles to make us stronger and more skilled in daily life, practicing mindfulness trains our brain to strengthen essential faculties well beyond the sessions.

Advancements in neuroscience show that by engaging in mindfulness, we train our brain[1]. It allows us to cultivate sustained, consciously directed attention[2]. It then becomes a remarkable tool in our interactions with others, or when we need to think deeply about a thorny issue. Mindfulness practice also develops the ability to objectively observe our instinctive reactions. This faculty is crucial when it comes time to take the necessary step back to consciously choose our actions with more wisdom and discernment.

By cultivating this mental space, we can elevate our decision-making beyond automatisms.

A Practical Case

Consider Jean, a manager who must decide on the best strategy to address a significant client’s dissatisfaction. Jean is overwhelmed by the urgency of the decision and internal pressures. He resorts to quick intuitions, shaped by previous experiences that may not necessarily match the current situation. As a result, his decision is hasty, based on automatic reactions rather than a thorough evaluation.

Now, let’s revisit the situation after Jean has integrated mindfulness practice into his daily routine. Faced with the same decision, the manager takes a moment to center himself, to calm the immediate impulse to respond. He observes his initial thoughts and the emotions accompanying them, recognizing excitement and anxiety without yielding to them. With sustained attention, Jean objectively examines all available data; he thinks about long-term potentials without being diverted by distractions or pressures.

Mindfulness allows him to discern that while some strategies worked in the past, they might not be optimal for current challenges. This presence of mind leads to a more strategic, innovative, and situation-specific decision, thus increasing the chances of success.

Beyond Meditation Jean’s example perfectly illustrates that mindfulness has the power to transform our neural circuits. It enables us to refine our decision-making to make it more thoughtful, strategic, and tailored to situations.

The practice of mindfulness extends well beyond meditation sessions. It is a training that positively affects all spheres of our life while allowing us to cultivate increased attention and presence, in the most mundane activities of our daily life as well as in the most complex.

Whether through practicing meditation, engaging in conscious activities like walking or writing, or simply allowing ourselves moments to fully reflect, each step on this path can be one towards greater clarity and better decision-making.

Receive valuable advice.

Subscribe to our newsletter and regularly receive valuable tips, inspiring articles, and useful resources directly in your inbox.

We are committed to sharing only high-quality content to enrich your leadership journey. Sign up now!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Name
E-mail

Receive valuable advice.

Subscribe to our newsletter and regularly receive valuable tips, inspiring articles, and useful resources directly in your inbox.

We are committed to sharing only high-quality content to enrich your leadership journey. Sign up now!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Name
E-mail

You may also like…