The Under-Engaged Brain

Authored by: Jim Stewart, Founder DocuSend, powered by MTI.

Engaged Brain

We’ve all been there (admit it, you have too): those “Ouch!” moments when the thinking part of our brain isn’t quite connecting with the talking part, and before we can stop the words from leaving our lips, it’s too late. We are left frozen like a deer in the headlights. You wish you could catch the words and reel them back in, but they are out there forever to be scrutinized by the world. Or you took a wrong step without thinking and now you have to live with whatever consequences go along with it.

Even though all of us are prone to fall into these awkward verbal gaffes and regretful deeds, it gives me some comfort knowing I’m not alone when my own brain blurts out blunders before I can stop it. Maybe you’ve heard of some of these “Ouch!” moments by famous people:

  • I’m glad I’m not Brezhnev. Being a Russian leader in the Kremlin, you never know if someone’s tape recording everything you say. President Richard Nixon
  • The American people expect us to fail. Our mission is to exceed those expectations. George W. Bush in his opening speech to his cabinet
  • We have a firm commitment to NATO. We are part of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are part of Europe. Dan Quayle
  • We (Republicans) understand the value of having the bondage between the parent and the child. Dan Quayle
  • The Jews and Arabs should sit down and settle their differences like good Christians. Warren Robinson Austin, US politician and diplomat
  • I did not intend for this meeting to take on a political tone. I’m just here for the drugs. Nancy Reagan replying to a question unrelated to her “Just Say No” Campaign

So, what’s the point?

No one is immune to this. We all have known smart people who do and say surprisingly silly things. And it seems the more intelligent someone is, the more people seem to find relief in the fact that even the brightest people among us are capable of saying or doing something truly dumb.

As someone who has been fortunate enough to have traveled around the sun more than a few times, I sometimes feel like an old hand at goof-ups! My personal experiences tell me that most people I know who are knowledgeable, intelligent, and generally make wise decisions also make their share of dumb mistakes. What’s odd is that this seems to contradict how intelligence is traditionally appraised by the scientific community.

The advantages of being intelligent are well documented. Intelligent people are more likely to get better grades at school and be more successful at work. Still, that doesn’t calculate how their lives will turn out in terms of happiness, well-being, or longevity. University of Waterloo psychologist Igor Grossmann writes that most intelligence tests fail to capture our real-world decision-making capabilities and our capacity to interact well with others.

Could this be why “smart” people do dumb things?

Critical business thinking

To be able to think critically, on the other hand, has been associated with wellness and longevity. Not to be confused with intelligence, critical thinking is a collection of mental skills that allow us to think in a goal-orientated fashion and use those skills when and where appropriate. Critical thinking drives people to look forward skeptically and strive toward better ways of doing things. Critical thinkers make excellent researchers, scientists and business owners. And that is what brings me to my final thoughts as I apply all this to my little corner of the world: supporting small businesses.

DocuSend Was Invented for Engaged Brains

That’s right. DocuSend’s complete print-to-mail service is for critical thinkers who want solutions, ways and means of doing things better, because they know it doesn't make sense to continue doing things the same way when new and much better ways exist.

Want some firsthand examples?

OK, but first we have to establish one simple fact that needs to be considered for a critical analysis:

It takes the average small business more than 2 hours to manually print, fold, stuff, seal, apply postage to, and mail two hundred invoices or other financial documents. Cost: $400.00. DocuSend: Less than 2 minutes to upload. Cost: $200.00. Annual savings: $2,400.00.

Yet we know there are many great, engaged SMB owners and operators out there who don’t use DocuSend just because they don’t know the technology exists. Or they don’t realize how simple or effective it is. And some are just too busy putting out bigger fires than mailing invoices efficiently. We get it. But there are still some who manage to fall more into the unengaged-brain category. And just so no one gets mad at me, here are a few examples of actual statements from prospective DocuSend users:

  • I only mail 100 invoices a week, so it doesn’t take much time.
  • I pay my sister-in-law to mail bills at the end of the month, and she needs the money.
  • I only stuff envelopes in my spare time.
  • We’ve always done it that way.
  • I’ve already purchased my forms and envelopes.
  • My receptionist just sits at her desk with nothing to do anyway.

My response? Let’s engage our brains with some critical thinking.

  • Have your receptionist spend those two or more saved hours calling your clients to see if the product or service you recently completed was OK.
  • Research your competitors’ websites for comparable services to enhance your own.
  • Conduct customer surveys to find and address your weak points and emphasize your strengths.
  • Start retention campaigns and manage them like every customer is critical.
  • Increase customer touchpoints to improve client satisfaction.
  • Use that time to acquire new customers, whether it’s making sales calls or working on your marketing plan.

Now, let’s be honest—isn’t at least one of these something you’ve thought you needed to get around to? Do any of us have as much time as we’d like for building our business?

And can any truly intelligent, critically thinking SMB owner or operator claim that stuffing envelopes for hours each month is a better use of time than any of the suggestions listed above?

Give the DocuSend cloud-based mailroom a try. You’ll see that it saves you time and money, so it is a smart solution for smart business owners like you.

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About the author
Small Business Owner

Jim Stewart is the founder of DocuSend, powered by MTI. As a passionate supporter of small businesses his entire career, he dedicates much of his time helping others how to be successful. Jim and his wife Barbara live in Hilton, NY and spend their free time gardening, cooking and playing frisbee with their twin border collies.

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