A Chinese rice master, by the name Fei Lin, described eating Nigerian party jollof a forgettable experience. When asked what his thoughts were after eating jollof for the first time he replied, “If you ask this question again in ten years, I am not sure I will remember eating this.” Many Nigerians received the news with shock and anger. Some devout party jollof fans have put out a ransom promising a reward for anyone who can bring Fei Lin to defend his outrageous comments.
What do you think about the above? Would you like to strangle Fei Lin yourself? Do you agree with his assessment?
Well, that incident never happened. It is a fabrication. The only intent of the heading and opening paragraph was to draw you in this blog. Now that I have your attention. I want to show you what technique I used and the reason why it works. We will also look at how overcome it for decision making.
Creatures of Habit
Firstly, we are born into this world with almost nothing. Secondly, we do not get to choose our family. Again, we do not get to choose our names. Also, we do not get to choose our culture. Finally, we do not get to choose our nationality. Notwithstanding, we have to learn to adapt to all these things we did not choose.
We are so good at learning that all these things become second nature to us. If anyone asks your name, you will respond promptly. If anyone speaks in your native language, you will respond without giving it a thought.
We spend most of our lives replicating this learning pattern until everything we do is a habit. Our work, religious, social and personal lives all revolve around our habits. One person may always go to church early, another late, yet another may not show up at all. But all these people will do so with some level of consistency relative to their habits toward that activity.
The Paradigm Shifter
We all do not think alike. We all do not like the same food. Even our perception of taste is different. Hence, the jollof wars. If you bare this in mind then you will realize that there is most likely a counter opinion for any proposal.
Stephen Covey defines a paradigm shift as a change in perspective about a concept or thought pattern. As easy as it may sound, it is not any easy thing to do. Our tendency to react on impulse is so strong that paradigm shifts do not come naturally.
However, the ability to shift paradigm when successfully mastered is a great asset.
The Problem Solver
In the real world, you have to use all skills at your disposal to solve problems. A lot of people tend to rely on their instincts, intuitions or experience to make decisions. This is a natural reaction. It is the reason why most people clicked on this article. However, you cannot reliably get good results. This is the focus of the Analysis of Business Problems course.
Students propose solutions to a series of increasingly difficult problem. The aim is to develop a systematic way of solving problems.
In this regard, the paradigm shifter is at an advantage over the creature of habit. We cannot discount the importance of intuition in decision making. However, you can lead first with a systematic approach to diagnose a problem. Thereafter, you can use intuition to split in case of a tie.
It is not bad to be a creature of habit. After all, when you master analytical skills, it will be a habit as well. You can use people’s perception of information/problem to your advantage. An example is the sensational title and opening paragraph of this blog.
Whatever choice you have to make next, remember that there is possibly another angle that can be explored.