The Time is Now
How to Make a Big Decision
Have no fear. New science helps us to make a choice
Approximately,180 years ago, Charles Darwin, 29, was about to make a decision that would change course of his life. The decision he wrestled with wasn’t related to any scientific questions about the origins of species, etc..
It was a different decision — existential and of a very personal nature: Should he get married?
As we all know, Darwin’s methods of decision making was the famous Pros and cons method: And he’d made a list of pros and cons. Under heading “not marry” he wrote benefits of remaining a bachelor, including “conversation of clever men at clubs”; under “marry” he included “children (if it pleases God)” and “charms of music and female chitchat.”
While Darwin’s values appear outdated, the journal entry is remarkable and familiar.. Almost two centuries later, pros-versus-cons list remains regularly used technique for deliberating a complex decision. Science of making hard choices is still evolving?
In fact, it has, but its insights are less appreciated. Over the past few decade, research spanning areas as diverse as cognitive science, management theory and literary studies — have given us a set of tools to pick better options. Faced with a complex decision requiring a long period of deliberation, a decision with far reaching impact, we are no longer limited to Darwin’s simple list.
New Productivity Apps and tools, though, provide solutions to the decisions we face. They are just - prompts, hacks, nudges, triggers, cues, hooks. They’re intended to help from current situation with new perspectives, to imagine new possibilities, to weigh our options with more sophistication. A fool-proof algorithm for life’s difficult choices does not exist. Research shows that we can get better at making them.
Mindfulness is a highly respected and useful skill. As a secularized offshoot of Buddhist meditation practice, it has been utilized by therapists, propagated by California tech gurus, and made its way into mainstream culture. Mindfulness can create empathy, which incurs compassion. Compassion necessarily limits violence. Thus, I wonder if one can someday cancel the other out. I hope so. I believe so.
If you're like me, you're also looking to optimize and manage time. I schedule calls when I know I'll be in taxi en-route airport. I track hours of my life to quest understand how I spend time.. When I struggle with something - and when productivity is a fight for me, I try to accomplish 'deep work' amidst miscellaneous pressing demands.
Simple tweaks in my calendar helps me work at double speed, by keeping count, every morning and using Steven Covey’s famous Quartet Method of Urgent and Important helps me review the day gone by and Plan today.
Darwin’s Pros and Cons Method - it helps, so does Mindfulness. ‘The Time is NOW ‘ is about Just taking initiative and achieving Finishiative - Cutting the unnecessary from life. Mindfulness gives the balance and a conscience to help us cut the riff-raff and a determination to move ahead. Try it – The Time is Now!
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