Being an entrepreneur might feel like swimming against the current at times. Every day brings a barrage of decisions, large and little, that must be made by you and you alone. Entrepreneurs are faced with more daily decisions than ever before in times of uncertainty, as firms rush to adapt to changing markets and work circumstances. It is no surprise that, according to the World Economic Forum, 45 per cent of individuals worldwide said that their mental and physical health had deteriorated in the previous year. As CEO of a company, it would be easy to slip into cruise control just to get through another packed day; to keep swimming along and forget to think about how you are thinking and making decisions. However, rash decision-making might result in a less inventive, productive, and inclusive environment, eventually harming your company. That is why it is so important to understand your present thinking habits and how to improve them. Here are a few tried-and-true methods for improving the quality of your thinking.
1. Think about thinking
You have already completed tactic number one if you are reading this post. Metacognition – the activity of thinking about your thinking — helps you evaluate your cognitive processes and enhances the quality of your thinking, according to Ness Labs. In addition, despite its complexity, metacognition is as simple as making time for self-reflection, which may be accomplished by daily journaling, checking in on your thinking processes regularly, and practising some of the strategies listed below. You are off to a good start as long as you are conscious of how you think.
2. Be aware of loops
Many of us are acquainted with behavioural loops, such as the way we look either ways before crossing the street or the way our mouths wet when we go into our favourite restaurant. Our minds acquire certain “loops” similar to these trained bodily reflexes. Mental loops are not always negative; in fact, we sometimes require them to digest the constant stream of new information we get during the day. Our brain is a patternseeking survival mechanism, and habits are how it guarantees that we do not have to think too hard about what to do when BETTER THINKING: AN ENTREPRENEUR’S GUIDE similar circumstances happen, allowing us to preserve energy, as Zat Rana explains. However, they can cause blind spots. “Our brains have learnt something in one context, so they apply it to others incorrectly,” writes Rana, “mixing up the triggers that lead to repetitive thoughts.” For example, rather than looking for a better solution, you believe that a new business problem demands the same old solution. To break out of cycles, we must educate our minds to think critically – by reading books, hearing opposing viewpoints, and educating ourselves about other ways of seeing the world. You can also practise other mental models, as described below.
3. Add to your mental model toolbox
“You have to have models in your head,” remarked entrepreneur Charles Munger. And you have to arrange your direct and indirect experience on this latticework of models.” To put it another way, we organise new information depending on the infrastructure we already have in our heads. The good news is that we can broaden the types of models accessible, allowing us to gain a more in-depth and nuanced understanding of the new data. Simply studying and practising mental models is one method to expand your mental model pool. Take the first principles mental model, for example, which includes breaking down complex issues into component pieces and then reconstructing them from the bottom up. Alternatively, try the inversion technique: think about what you want, and then think about what you do not want - a proven approach to getting a fresh viewpoint. Entrepreneurs might also attempt arranging personnel in a way that allows mental models to cross-fertilize. Expanding your mental model toolkit can help you make better judgments on a personal level.
4. Make diversity the rule not the exception
Here is one of the many reasons to embrace diversity: it will improve your thinking and your company’s inventiveness. The authors of the Harvard Business Review studied more than 150 businesses and discovered that when women enter the C-suite, they not only offer fresh views, but they also change how the C-suite thinks about innovation, encouraging them to consider a wider range of value-creation strategies. Importantly, the transition occurred in teams that already included at least one female member. Groups that have more varied viewpoints are more likely to be open to change. Change is essential to innovation, as any entrepreneur will tell you.
5. Remember emotional agility
As much as we would want to think of ourselves as fully objective decision-makers, especially when it comes to our companies, emotions do play a role in our everyday decisions. While we may anticipate anger to lead to reckless or impulsive judgments, it turns out that, our better judgment is affected by our good moods as well. Developing awareness and exercising emotional agility are the keys to overcome this inclination. “Emotional agility helps you to observe your inner world and create resilience,” according to Ness Labs. When you have a caring and honest connection with your emotions, you can reduce their ability to distort your judgment.” Emotional agility can also help to decrease stress, minimise mistakes, and improve job performance. So, what can you do to improve your emotional agility? Recognize your patterns, name your thoughts and feelings, accept them, and act on your values, according to HBR. Although our brains are hardwired to function in a specific manner, there are simple methods to rewire them to benefit our companies and ourselves