One of the handiest, and most versatile little tricks in the toolbox I’ve been developing to aid in my process of Building a Better Brooke, is that of self-questions.
There might already be some fancy term for it, but I am ever more interested in concepts than I am in the labels in which they tend to be packaged.
I’ve talked about a few of the questions I ask myself in a number of posts, but what made me think about it today are the concepts of Deciding, and of Deliberating.
I had been thinking of myself and the way my brain works- within the perception that it was always easier for me to discuss addictions- after I had overcome them. That it was likewise easier for me to discuss problems after I had successfully found solutions to them.
Today, I’ve realized that those things are not true. I found an exception to the first statement (re: The Not Smoking Project), which led me to an awareness of prior exceptions, that I had been overlooking.
It became easier for me to talk about the status of The Not Smoking Project- after I had made a decision to not drop cigarettes, yet.
So this made me think about that perception that I had- and realize I had already begun finding utility in discussing problems I was facing- despite not having found solutions to them, yet- some time ago (in the Guide to Sobriety discussion)
I am starting to suspect that every instance of insight I gain about myself- is merely a process of looking at what was already there, in a new way.
But that is not what I wanted to talk about, right now.
What I want to talk about right now- is how I make decisions, now.
This is, again- about conscious efforts at increasing efficiency. From one angle, at least.
Decisions are complex things, by nature- for our worlds are complex.
In making decisions, of any sort- I have had to put into effect a sort of rule, which I fall back on, whenever I am facing difficulty in coming to a clear path forward.
A tool, designed to pare down some of that complexity.
This is mostly done on a non-rational sort of level- I’m only really right now attempting to put words to the instinctive process.
What I basically do, is ask myself a couple of questions:
“Is what I am doing currently, working?”
“Can I think of anything better to try, or a method through which I might be able to find a better way?”
Sometimes, what I am already doing, is working. This question requires having a clear idea in mind of what it is exactly that I am trying to achieve, first- broadly, and specifically.
But frequently, when I am honest with myself about what my goals really are- the things that I am doing are not working.
I am almost never sure that another path might help me achieve my goals, more effectively. I pretty much always start with an awareness that something is not working, and go from there.
So, when I try new things- it is experimentation.
If I have an idea of a new thing to try, I try to consider whether someone else might have tried it before, first. Ask friends, or read about it online.
Sometimes, it is not worth the effort of trying to find, or the time.
I assess these things, pretty instinctively.
My entire brain, I feel like- is much more intelligent than my conscious brain is, alone.
I try to use that knowledge.
All those words, they make this process sound very complex.
It is not.
I simply ask myself if I have any better ideas to try, and if not- then I go with the best I’ve got, so far.
This saves me incalculable amounts of time, in unproductive sorts of chewing over decisions that only serve to increase my stress levels.
In the amount of time I used to spend in agonizing deliberations- I now can generally make a decision, put it into action- and, whether it succeeds or fails, have that much more information to go off of in making the next one – all before I would have even gotten myself off the couch, before.
These questions – this reducing the clutter of decisions, of distilling the process- acts as well to reduce my later tendency to spend large amounts of time wondering whether or not I made the right decision.
I made a decision, the clearest I could at the time- and put it into action. If it did not go as I’d hoped- I am now that much more prepared to achieve my goals, with the next decision.
I know a little bit more, about what not to do.
Our brains tend to increase the clutter, increase the complexity with which we view, everything.
I have found it useful to develop ways to cut through that clutter, despite my own tendency to build it up around me.