Preliminary Decision Making Techniques
All things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things. Stephen Covey
Combining reflection and inquiry is a good way to get ready for decision making. Reflection is a mental concentration; careful consideration. It is “the pause that refreshes”. Inquiry is to inquire, to seek information by asking a question. Reflection and inquiry together often lead to self-examination and self-awareness of our mental models. Mental models are deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take actions. Peter Senge. Examining our mental models is a process of learning about ourselves before deciding.
My writing about decision making methods has always been promoting reflection and inquiry. Becoming self-aware is the goal of my Process of Illumination. I have repeatedly said that self-awareness needs to turn into self-understanding and put into practice — deciding what to do and doing it. How well one decides is dependent on self-reflection and self-inquiry — looking at the way one sees things, understanding what one believes — turning the mirror inward. Peter Senge.
But self-awareness needs to lead to a decision method. We all have our personal strategies for deciding: “seat of the pants”’ “top of the head”, etc. During my days “preaching” and teaching about decision making, I often used the following metaphor to describe three types of decision making methods:
Ready – Aim – Fire — The Rational Method Ready – Fire – Aim — The Impulsive or Intuitive Metho d Ready – Aim – Aim — The Procrastination Method
Each one of these methods works some of the time, so do other personal methods, but not all of the time. Remember the popular saying: Sooner or later you need to stop cutting bait and start fishing. So, if you continue to cut bait, (reflection and inquiry) without fishing (deciding and doing), you will be spending your life examining it but not living it. However, fishing without cutting bait is less likely to be successful. Knowing oneself before deciding what to do sounds like good preliminarystrategy.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”– Aristotle
The unexamined life is not worth living. Socrates
The unlived life is not worth examining. Max Lerner