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How can we be more mindful when we make big decisions? It’s especially difficult given that much has been written lately about how we are all prey to mental mistakes, and rely on assumption, bias and judgment. While behavioral science research shows we rely on faulty intuition and are swayed by authority and public sentiment, it doesn’t give us tools or techniques to overcome our flawed thinking. Instead, this new research explores the many ways that we allow biases, snap judgments and assumptions to drive our decision making. These may help us to make decisions quickly and easily, yet they impede our ability to think open-mindedly and thoroughly about complex problems. In other words, we know our thinking is flawed, but we don’t know what to do about it.

That problem plagued me in my job as an investigative journalist. I worried about how I might control for and counteract my flawed thinking, and I wondered whether there was also a way to better spot the incentives and motivations of others. To tackle that problem I created a system of thinking and making decisions that uses perspective taking. I call it the AREA Method.

AREA is an acronym for my system’s four-stage process; Absolute, Relative, Exploration and Exploitation and Analysis. Its framework proactively manages our mental myopia by moving us from one vantage point to the next, isolating and categorizing information based upon its source, and enabling us to fully appreciate each perspective’s point of view and the incentives that shape it.

Perspective taking acknowledges that although you may think you understand how to solve a particular problem, your understanding of the problem is most likely incomplete and different from how other key players see it. It’s important to recognize other player’s considerations and incentives. You may even come to understand the facts differently. By moving through a research and decision making process that acknowledges this truth, you can better manage your own perspective and more easily make a thoughtful and successful decision.

But it’s not only important to look at what others think and feel to mirror back your own thoughts and feelings. You need a guide to help you look inward, and so AREA takes you through a series of self-assessment exercises. I learned about these exercises from other disciplines including medicine, investigative journalism and intelligence gathering. They point out flaws in our own understanding of our research to highlight and help us catch—and correct for—failures of data and failures of analysis.

In addition, AREA helps us to be mindful by also addressing the critical component of timing head-on. High-stakes decisions deserve time and attention, but often we’re in such a rush to reach a conclusion that we never really take the time for deep reflection. We’re already over-programmed, often answering emails late at night and waking to urgent texts. We struggle with the need to react when we also need to really think. Yet when it comes to our future, we deserve the time needed for thoughtful reflection. Insight doesn’t come from collecting information alone; it comes from brainwork, so AREA builds in what I call “cheetah-like pauses.” Why the cheetah? Because the cheetah’s prodigious hunting skills are not due to its speed alone. Rather, it’s their ability to decelerate quickly that makes them fearsome hunters.

Cheetahs habitually run down their prey at speeds approaching 60 miles per hour, but are able to decelerate in a single stride. This allows the cheetah to make sharp turns, sideways jumps and direction changes. Like the cheetah’s hunt, the AREA Method offers both stability and maneuverability. It doesn’t consistently move forward. Instead, it benefits from calculated pauses and periods of thoughtful deceleration that enable you to consolidate knowledge before accelerating again. The reason: a quality research and decision making process is about depth, flexibility and creativity.

You don’t need lots of money or resources to make a good decision, but you do need good methodology and a clear sense of what you want out of your decision. Whether you’re making a critical professional or personal decision, the AREA Method is an equitable tool that levels the playing field and gives you a step-by-step framework that focuses your work and thinking on your what’s at the core of your decision.

As AREA becomes second nature, it can be part of the frame you bring to the world around you. And in so doing, it may allow you to live your life more mindfully and take advantage of your ideas. With the right framework, the right approach to decision-making—the right process —you can turn good ideas into great thinking.

SOURCE: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/make-big-decisions-using-mindfulness-and-methodology.html

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Practice Policy Update Regarding COVID-19

Dear Patients:

Our patients, employees and family are our top priority at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

We ask you to not visit any of our locations if you have symptoms such as fever, sneezing, coughing and possible shortness of breath.

Please cancel your appointment and re-schedule once you are feeling better and are no longer suffering with symptoms.

Only non-symptomatic patients will be seen. No exceptions.

Accompanying family members – including children – are asked to remain in the waiting area and will not be allowed to enter the exam rooms.

During this time of high concern regarding the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) we are taking extra precautions to maintain the highest possible standards of safety and cleanliness. Please be advised that we are carefully following recommendations from both the CDC and WHO and are here to help guide you through this time if needed.

Some steps we are taking to keeping safe:

  1. We know how important cleanliness is and always maintain the highest standards of cleanliness. To further offer you peace of mind, we have increased the frequency of the cleaning of our office.
  2. Rest assured that hand washing is strictly followed. Hand sanitizer is available to all staff and patients.
  3. Additionally, if you have recently traveled to a country with high rates of the coronavirus or have been on a cruise, please reschedule your visit for at least 14 days from your return date. We will gladly accommodate your needs to reschedule. At that time, a telehealth interface can be arranged if necessary.

Find up-to-date and accurate information on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and feel free to reach out with questions.

- Your team at Long Island Spine Specialists, P.C.

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To learn more about Long Island Spine Specialists – and to discover how we can relieve your pain and help you find an improved quality of life – please contact our office today and schedule a consultation.

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