Making Use of Models

Models help us to reduce the complexity of a situation by enabling us to dismiss most of it and concentrate on what is important. Critics like to point out that models do not reflect reality. That is true, but it is wrong to claim that they compel us to think in a prescribed way. If this approach suits you, start at the beginning with How to improve yourself. Europeans tend to begin by acquiring theories, then doing something. If they then fail, they analyze, improve and repeat the attempt. Whatever the job that lands on your desk, begin by breaking it down according to the Eisenhower method and then decide how to proceed. We often focus too strongly on the urgent and important field, on the things that have to be dealt with immediately. When will I deal with the things that are important, but not urgent? When will I take the time to deal with important tasks before they become urgent? Another method of organizing your time better is attributed to the multimillionaire Warren Buffett. Make a list of everything you want to get done today. Begin with the task at the top of the list, and continue only when you have completed it. When a task has been completed, cross it off the list. Better late than never. But never late is better. Fill in the tasks you currently have to deal with. Knowing what your strengths are is the most important thing an individual can know about himself or herself. If you set yourself goals, you should distinguish between final goals and performance goals. The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it. The arguments for and against are evenly balanced. How can you help them out of their dilemma? At first glance the method seems to be a simple variation of the conventional question What are the pros and cons? The difference is that What is holding me? and What is pulling me? are positive questions and reflect a situation with two attractive alternatives. A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one. It is easy to hurt people with criticism, but false compliments are also unhelpful. It is not only about working out what has not succeeded, it is also about deciding whether and how to react. The more options we take into consideration, the better our final decision. The more choices we have, the happier we are. The task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees. A person who wants to think outside the box is better off thinking inside a box. Toward the end of a project we know more and have fewer doubts, but by then there is no longer anything fundamental to decide. The most important question, then, is how we can bridge the chasm between doubt and decision. We often defer decisions because we have doubts. But not making a decision is a decision in itself. If you delay a resolution it is often an unconscious decision, one that you do not communicate. This leads to uncertainty in a team. So if you want to make a decision later, be sure to communicate this clearly. The idea is to switch off the rational side of your brain and get in touch directly with your innermost desires and experiences. Intuition is knowledge that we feel but cannot explain. This method is designed to stop the brain from thinking, so that the unconscious can be activated. It is an art to recognize the boundaries between cowardice and madness. According to the psychologist Daniel Gilbert, most decisions are not as lasting as we might think in the moment of making them. What consequences will my decision have in 10 days? What consequences will it have in 10 months? Let somebody else decide. There are things that we do not know about ourselves but that others can see clearly. And there are things that we think we are expressing clearly, but which others interpret completely differently. There are aspects of ourselves that are hidden from ourselves as well as others. We are more complex and multifaceted than we think. From time to time something unknown rises to the surface from our unconscious – for example in a dream. Why do we even go as far as defending our actions when we are confronted with their shortcomings? We see only what we want to see, and ignore everything that contradicts our view. We look for arguments that reinforce our position. But how can we overcome this dissonance? Either by changing our behavior or our attitude.