Good Decisions Require Your Whole Brain

via Bill Peel
May 1st, 2014

New research from the NeuroLeadership Institute contradicts some commonly held beliefs about decision-making. A couple of examples: Deadlines help us make decisions because they shake off inertia and get us off the dime, right?  And, everyone knows that good decision-making is based on logical thinking. Or so we thought.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “Inside the Executive Brain,” we should "take what we know about how executives make decisions and forget it."  Researchers found that good decision-making requires tapping emotional and intuitive parts of the brain as well as logical parts. They also found that the pressure of a deadline causes stress, and stress shuts down emotional and intuitive parts of the brain needed for good decision-making. Obviously a problem.

But that's not all. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that big unknowns about the future lead many executives to make poor choices. Seventy-five percent of leaders in uncertain situations erroneously predicted that bad things would happen. Decisions based on a sense of doom, gloom and fear produce flawed strategies.

While science tells us that anxious, negative thinking shuts off parts of the brain we need to make good decisions, God’s word provides us with timeless solutions.

When faced with a pressing deadline or uncertain future, consider these verses:

Isaiah 41:10. “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 42:16. “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them.  I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone.”

Philippians 4:6-9. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

Ephesians 3:20. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us ...

1 Peter 5:6-7. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

God cares about our work as much as any other part of our lives. As pressure builds during the day, we can calm our spirit by remembering these truths, and allow our brain to tap parts that God intended to be used to make decisions that honor Him.

How have you found these truths helpful to you as you make decisions at work?