We’re about to run out of medicine. Car companies are teetering on the brink. Governments are in shut down. The engine of the global economy has gone cold. Or slow. These are nervous times. Dangerous times. Or so we think.
Sure, times are changing. The old structures are being challenged - socially, emotionally, environmentally, technologically. What has been fixed, might not be fixed for very much longer. The company you work for, or run, might go out of business. Or not. We don’t really know.
But whatever we think will happen probably won’t. Well, not as we imagine it, at any rate.
We’re not good decision makers. Our brains are programmed to look for danger. Left to our own devices, that’s what we’ll do. Turn information into danger. That’s not to say danger doesn’t exist. But we see it whether its there or not. We act on auto pilot, needing, wanting to be heard, to be seen, to be appreciated. Let’s be honest, we blunder around in the dark.
So what to do?
Take a longer view.
Get clear about the direction you’re heading. And why.
Set bigger goals.
Warren Buffet is one of the most successful investors the world has ever seen (apart from the guy who backed the wheel. He was big time).. The Buffet preaches long term thinking, good temperament and decision making above and beyond the emotional urges which buffett (geddit?!) the rest of us. Go slower. Be considered. Look for the signals in amongst the noise.
He’s like Gandhi. (ok, not really, but bear with me).
Gandhi worked to long term thinking, had great temperament and operated on a level above and beyond the emotional urges which bounce the rest of us from pillar to post.
(As it happens, they both managed their time ruthlessly too: Ghandi spent a day a week in meditation, irrespective of which government he was negotiating with or millions of people he was marching with. Warren too. No meetings. Just reading).
Where Warren applies his wisdom and tidy habits to accumulating riches and returns for shareholders. Mo used his to fell an Empire. India was returned to its people. Hooray they said.
When taking the long term view, guided by a principled philosophy, decisions, actions are clearer and outcome is more effective. If Gandhi used it to bring down an empire, we can use it to chart a positive route through a period of change and uncertainty. Indeed, maybe the principled view, where effort and investment is oriented to maximum gain - that being socially, environmentally, emotionally and commercially - is not just a route through choppy waters but the outcome we’ll settle on when we get there. The other side, that is.
Get clear on a personal philosophy. And make it a positive one.
Learn and understand how we make bad decisions. And why. (our friend Mr Buddha can help with that).
And slow down. Most of the stuff of our days is just that, stuff. Cut your ‘to do’ to just 3 things today, in service of your big, positive vision. Everything else is noise.
This week, let’s be more Gandhi. And while we’re at it, bring down an empire.