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Thinking, Over-thinking and Awareness.

Updated: Dec 11, 2022

Everything at work is based upon how you use your attention, is it wasted or are you focused on what you are doing?

Thinking occurs in your head. Thinking is thought intensive and awareness is presence or simple attention in the moment. You know that your current stressful situation at work is made worse by thinking too much, and worrying about what to do will only worsen the situation. Are you creating thoughts about the situation you find yourself in? If yes, then you are thinking, or maybe you are over-thinking. Over-thinking can cause stress and lead to a sort of " it's better to do nothing" paralysis.

Awareness is when your attention is focused on the situation by simply observing with your senses. You have awareness by taking in information through your senses, like seeing and hearing. Awareness will give you direct perception of the situation, by allowing you to perceive it more accurately.

Have you ever found that more often than not the things that you forget are the things that you weren't really paying attention to in the first place because your mind was running around on some other errand while the event was happening? The thinking mind does what it can to understand a situation but then you will need to clarify that understanding through experiences.

This happens a lot at work, especially around decision making. Many of us tend to simply disregard and do not allow our awareness gather accessible and valuable information when making important decisions. That can be worrisome if the failure on the part of the decision maker to seek out information is because that decision is motivated to a particular outcome.

To make it easier to understand, let's say that your favorite football team lost a game and that you were asked to predict how happy or unhappy you would be a few days after the game. Do you predict or even expect that your happiness will rely heavily on the game’s outcome? If you said yes, what if you were asked to list a dozen other things that were happening on the days following the game that could cause unhappiness? You see, in this way you have now “unpacked” the situation to bring easily available, but previously unused, information into awareness.

It's like that with team members. Team members frequently discuss information that they are all aware of, and they typically fail to share "unique" information with one another.


Because it’s much easier to discuss common information and because common information is more positively rewarded. That is why meetings should have agendas, and the agendas should specifically request individual reports, rather than assuming individuals who have unique information will speak up as needed, especially true if accountability for issues lies in multiple areas.

But before executives can consider the proper structural responses to a situation, they must first recognize the hidden profile effect. Only then can they bring unique information into the bounds of the group decision-making process, collect too much information for every choice they face. That would waste time and other valuable resources. But when something large is at stake—such as emergency, preparedness or downsizing or marketing a potentially dangerous product—executives should be mindful of their natural bounds of awareness.

Then they should insist on getting all the information they need to make a wise decision. In this regard, executives would do well to learn from high-level diplomatic assumptions about how things work.

"Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it." - Henry Ford

Right you are Mr. Ford, after all as a manager, leader, employee, everyday work and life are an endless sequence of thought out decisions. Some of the decisions are small and inconsequential, and some are large and life-determining.

Just consider the amount of information you have to process each day — reports, meetings, one on ones, emails and more! Some information is easy to understand and retain; some is not. The difference is in how the information is presented. You have multiple choices to make and thinking about the best information to make the best choices is essential.

And yet thinking gets you into trouble everyday. You jump to conclusions, you miss key ideas, you come to unreasonable conclusions, you misuse words or phrases you ignore information that does not support your view. Your own thinking usually seems clear to you, even when it is not to others. And on top of all of that you now have to navigate and try to figure out the real meaning of what other people are saying.

Clarity then becomes a critical component in communications at work. Clarity in your own thinking involves your willingness to listen to someone’s reasons. Perhaps you are irritated by the reasons people give you or perhaps you are becoming defensive during a discussion?

Too often we tend to accept the world as it is presented to us. And most of us are not skilled questioners and as a result our questions are often superficial or “loaded.” In order to have thoughtful clarity, whenever you don’t understand something, ask a question. So here is where you have the opportunity to ask yourself , "To what extent am I objectively able to judge information that refutes what I already think?

It is no wonder then that Millennials seem to have the right idea when it comes to their preferences of texting and email, as it gives time to think clearly , to compose thoughts, and content and respond versus react. Communicating in this way is seeing from a different perspective. It is less wordy and more thought through.

Excessive wordiness in email is confusing and will have your reader spending more time trying to understand your sentences rather than your ideas. To be clear and easy to understand, you’ll need to tailor your message to your audience. If you are in IT what you say to your peers will be clear because everyone has been immersed in the same dialogue or because your educational backgrounds are similar. However as soon as you have someone from another department involved in the conversation, you need to adjust your communication.

So here is a tip :

  • State one point at a time. And don't use jaron. Speak like you would in a non-business setting . I think . . . (state your main point)

  • Elaborate on what you mean .Give the highlights and the key points. Less is more. In other words . . . (elaborate your main point)

  • Give examples that connect your thoughts using analogies and metaphors to help people connect your ideas to a variety of things they already understand and say what you mean, For example . . . (give an example of your main point)

And when people explain things to you, summarize in your own words what you think they said, which involves asking thoughtful questions. So think about that it is you want to be clear about in your communications and think about what hard work that is everyday.

stay tuned for more..

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By- Audrey Halpern (⭐️Learning and Development Consultant⭐️Trainer⭐️Facilitator)



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