My first book was a non-fictional exploration of how the human mind functions to make critical life decisions such as choosing a mate, a profession, a candidate in an election, or whether to have another drink at a party.
Inner Voices: Making Mindful Decisions
Drawing on my background in communication systems design, I have created a structured model that enables readers to get to know and understand each of their inner voices. So, rather than trying to tune out these voices with techniques such as Mindfulness Meditation, you will be able to harness the full power of your mind to make truly MindFULL Decisions. Another theme of the book is how computer technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) will impact the future of decision making and the evolution of mankind.
How is “Mindful Decision Making” different from “Mindful Meditation?”
The term “mindfulness” has become popularized as a state of awareness that is focused on the present. Mindfulness Meditation is designed to quiet or tune out the parts of our mind that judge, interpret, plan, and worry about the future. The objectives of this technique are to promote relaxation and to inhibit destructive behaviors. Using the smart phone analogy, Mindfulness Meditation allows you to turn off notifications and silence your phone in order to enjoy some “me time” or to ignore an annoying or stressful trigger. In other words: to silence your inner voices.
When it comes to making important life decisions, however, it is critical to utilize the full power of your mind. Rather than tuning out your inner voices, you need to listen to them, to understand not only what they are saying, but also why they are saying it. Then, when you have all the inputs, you will be prepared to make the best decision.
“Inner Voices: Making Mindful Decisions” presents a model for how your inner voices interact in the decision-making process. The analogy used is a board meeting, where the CEO is responsible for setting corporate strategy after listening to advice from VPs representing each of the major functional areas such as Finance, Sales, Marketing, Production, and Human Resources. To make these type of decisions in isolation would be irresponsible.
Perhaps a better analogy for interaction of our inner voices would be a family situation, where are inner voices represent our parents, children, aunts and uncles. In the corporate world, the CEO is able to choose the people he will rely on for advice, and is able to replace people who don’t perform up to his expectations. We, unfortunately, have very little influence on our inner voices, having inherited many of them from our ancestors. Although we can try to tune them out (like avoiding a weird uncle), we cannot fire them. If one of our inner voices acts up like an unruly child, it is our responsibility to overrule and try to correct the behavior.
Why is our mind cluttered with inner voices?
The human mind evolved over millions of years to enable human beings to dominate life on Earth. A useful analogy is to think of your mind as similar to your smart phone. It contains a number of individual apps designed to perform specific functions such as interpreting inputs, remembering experiences, recognizing your friends, organizing your activities, and making decisions such as which direction to take. Each of these apps is vying for your attention by producing alerts, notifications, and advice similar to annoying pop-ups. These are your “inner voices”. Your smart phone allows you to focus on a particular app while leaving others to operate in the background. Think what it would be like if all the apps were vying for screen space and your attention at the same time! That is the typical mode in which your mind operates with your inner voices often producing overwhelming stress and clutter.
“Inner Voices: Making Mindful Decisions” describes each of your inner voices, giving you a better understanding of why they are pulling you in certain directions.