Almost every day I ask myself a single question (amongst others of course … but this one I ask myself almost every single day …).
“What is the contribution that I will make today?”
And, almost every day I come up with the same way to answer it too:
How can I help people make better decisions … that are their own, and not the ones they’ve been taught to believe are their own?
Now from there on out things begin taking on a life of their own!
There are all kinds of reasons I can point to as to “why” things at this point begin to spiral … but suffice it to say it’s complex ‘`~>
However I do want to share with you some ideas about how I specifically go about answering that question.
[Now remember I am a developer, designer, creator, broker and peddler of information … so these questions are always asked and answered by me within this framing.]
I think that the most amazing thing we do … dang, maybe the most amazing thing about being human … is that, we are capable of making decisions. But it ain’t as easy as all that …
Son of Nobel Prize winner, and himself a Pulitzer Prize winner for his non-fiction, best seller, “Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Braid” (GEB), academic Douglas Hofstadter who is the Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Science in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he directs the Center for Research on Concepts and Cognition wrote about this in his book, “I Am A Strange Loop“ …
In the end we are self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages that are little miracles of self-reference.
– Douglas Hofstadter, “I Am A Strange Loop, pg. 363
Now … here’s a question for you … AND I WANT YOU TO BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF …
- “Were you, even a little bit, impressed by this guy’s credentials before you read the quote I posted above?”
And, depending on your answer …
- “How do you think that influenced your expectations and perception of what he would have to say?”
Then go one more step (or league …) down the rabbit hole and answer for yourself this question,
- “How do you think what I did in framing this way set you up for what I’m presenting to you now?”
I’m bringing all this to the forefront and putting your attention on it, however, how much would you have considered those points if I hadn’t ? (… and I know the answer will vary depending on the person reading that last question and all the preceding ones too.)
BUT … you want to get that this is obvious … or at least as obvious as it’s likely to get!
So, as a practicing, applied cognitive scientist – who did his doctoral research on decision-making, specifically decision-making in contexts where the information required to make decisions was incomplete and implicit – where my personal attention is focused, is on how we are all influenced in making what we believe to be “our own decisions” … about anything and everything?
Now take this question way beyond language, and directly perceived, explicitly available information … and ask it through the lens of my focus … in relation to the implicit contextual data relative to the way all information is perceived.
Here’s what I think is the single most important decision you can make …
“Is the decision your making (or about to make)
truly your own?”
Now add in a further piece of data, relative to my life’s work …
How do you know you’ll be able to make decisions that are truly in your best interests (including those that impact the folks you most care about and love) in critical moments and situations, e.g.: crisis and chaos?
These are the moments where it most counts … when time is limited and data is even more limited … AND you’re least likely to take into account the incomplete and implicit data that significantly impacts the quality of the decisions you’re making.
So this is where I live in answering my own daily question …
How can I help the folks I work with day in and day out run their brains like they actually own them … and live lives worth living.
I hope I’ve given you some things to ponder …
All the best,
Joseph Riggio, Ph.D.
Architect & Designer of the MythoSelf Process and Soma-Semantics
PS – There are more clips and posts in this blog that take these ideas further and in difference directions, including the audio and video posts “we’ve” begun making (yes, there really is a team of folks who help me get my messages out there …)
PPS – If you really want to take a HUGE step forward in training your brain to make decisions that are your own … I recommend you seriously read and consider this: Getting Started … [NOTE: It’s a long piece to read, but when you’re down you’ll know more about how to bring yourself to peace than when you began, I PROMISE! … “cross my heart and hope to live”]