Clear Thinking in Turbulent Times


As we read and watch the UK daily news about Brexit, it feels like a very turbulent time. At the heart of the turmoil is the uncertainty about the future and the frustration that many feel about the decision the United Kingdom has made. 

This article looks at the psychological aspects of what’s going on. My aim is help you gain perspective and to think more clearly. The more clear thinking our leaders in business & public life, the more effectively and cleverly we can not only weather the storm, but create opportunity and become stronger from it.   

So where does any uncertainty & turmoil come from? We think it comes from the situation in the UK; we think it comes from the decision the country has made; we think it comes from the unknown, but actually the uncertainty is created inside each one of us, by our thinking. Uncertainty is a psychological creation. 

We have thoughts in every moment, and those thoughts create the reality that each one of us live within. The reality we create is not real, it’s thought-created unique in each of us. That’s why one person can think the UK situation right now is great - "we’ve got our country back”; and another can think it’s terrible - “Brexit earthquake”. 

I hear lots of internal chatter being expressed: "I can’t believe we’ve done this. The drop in the value of the pound will put prices up. Scotland will leave the UK. The EU will implode. The economy is set for a terrible time. I’ve lost my pride in my country. I’m scared. This will be the toughest time in our lifetime." The chatter will likely go on for many months. 

The key thing to notice is what our thinking is doing to us. Our thinking is dominating our experience in any moment. The more strong the thoughts, the more vivid the experience we go through, and the stronger the emotions. It’s like an over-grown jungle of thought, where we’re unable to see the wood for the trees. The experience and feeling is immense, like sitting in the front row watching Jurassic Park as a 5-year old when a dinosaur jumps out.   

There’s two problems with this dominating thinking.  
Firstly, the thinking is highly likely not to be accurate or useful. We think the world is going to end, but actually what we're thinking is at best distorted, at worst totally inaccurate.    
Secondly, the noisy mind prevents us from thinking clearly. It prevents us from making quality decisions and from acting wisely. A noisy mind and a strong feeling (positive or negative) are actually a reliable barometer sending you a warning. Any action when you have strong feeling is likely to be ill-considered and lead you astray. 

I’m suggesting to you that your mind is like a snow globe; it sees & thinks most clearly when you let things settle, when the emotion fades, when there’s calm inside. At that point, the power of your intuition & wisdom are fully available to you.  

In leading your business, you’ll need this clarity & wisdom more than ever in the coming months and perhaps years. The UK needs your clarity & wisdom too. 

In summary, I advise you to notice your thinking and how it might be creating a self-limiting reality. Take your time and let things settle. And remember, as James Allen said “the more calm a man becomes, the greater his success, his influence and his power for good." 

Written June 2016 by Martin Palethorpe