How to act correctly in difficult situations?
Michael Breus, in his book Always On Time, suggests approaching the question from the perspective of the science of biorhythms. There is a different, right time for each person to make decisions. Everyone has moments during the day when they are unable to make a choice because they are not thinking clearly, they risk making decisions under the influence of their emotions. First, determine your chronotype, then analyze your daily routine and try to act in accordance with the recommendations, then your decisions will be thoughtful and you will not regret them later.
Fans of meditation say that a calm and relaxed brain thinks better, and therefore is able to make the best decision. To do this, breathe consciously for a few minutes, or use one of the practices in the book Joy from Within.
If you don’t want to meditate, there is a longer, but no less effective way to calm your brain. Go to bed.
For example, we invite you to a neighborhood choir singing party the same night as the World Cup finals. If you are in your right mind, you will decline the invitation – its opportunity cost is too high. Always consider what “price” you will pay and what benefit you will receive. Try to get more benefit at a lower price.
A tool to help get your emotions in order is called 10/10/10 (from the book “Thought Traps”). If you don’t know how to be, consider your decisions in three frameworks. How will we feel about them in 10 minutes? What about 10 months from now? What about 10 years from now? Three time frames are an elegant way to get us to distance ourselves somewhat and make the right decision.
The samurai made decisions over the course of seven breaths. If the samurai failed to make a decision in that time, he would switch to something else, as it meant that either he himself was not ready for the decision or there were no suitable circumstances.
This method is also suitable for making collective decisions. For example, your colleagues can’t decide where to go for lunch, and no one offers any options. Say: “Let’s have lunch at McDonald’s. Immediately after this all give up your idea and begin to offer options. Thus, pushing away from the known inappropriate proposal, you begin to generate better options. So if you can not make a decision, choose the most unsuccessful, clearly unsuitable option. Having pushed away from it, you will be able to avoid a stupor and start analyzing more successful alternatives.
Renat Shagabutdinov, the co-author of the book “Charged to 100%”, went through all stages of amateur sports: from its complete absence or two to four easy runs a week to preparation for an ultramarathon or Ironman with seven to ten workouts a week and running up to 135 km a week. His observations show that there is a sweet spot – the golden mean: the ideal amount of exercise that allows you to stay in great shape, sleep six hours and feel like you slept seven, wake up easily and think perfectly. In turn, three or four workouts a week for 30-40 minutes will give you vigor, strength, good mood, and the ability to keep a work pace much longer than before. And you will be able to sleep even in less time than usual, and your sleep will become stronger. In addition, exercise increases your brain performance. How you feel throughout the day directly affects the quality of your decision-making.
Sometimes procrastination gets in the way of decision making. We know the right answer, but just can’t make a move because it’s not urgent or not important yet. They say that procrastination is the plague of the 21st century. Because the peasant in the Middle Ages, for example, had no way to procrastinate. If you don’t cut firewood, fetch water, or feed the cattle, there will be hunger, cold, and death. Modern conditions do not make procrastination fatal. You just have to force yourself to believe that procrastination is death. And you have no other choice.
Larissa Parfentieva in her book “100 Ways to Change Your Life” gives an interesting technique for making decisions. This technique was told to her by a friend. “Every time I need to make a decision, I think about the movie I’m making right now. If I’m offered a part in some project, I ask myself, ‘Suppose I say yes and this project gets into my film, will the audience say, ‘Wow! That’s powerful!’ or not?” When I talk to someone, I ask myself: “Is this dialogue worth getting into the movie? Would it have taught the audience anything? Or would they watch that moment on rewind?” And it’s also a great motivator to take action – like on a day off when you could be lying in bed or killing time in some other way. I realize that this would be too boring for my legendary life film, so I come up with adventures for the day to come. This issue has had a very serious impact on my worldview. Now there’s nothing I can do: after all, I am the protagonist of my own film. I have to play at my best.
Ask anyone who has created anything really creative, and he’ll tell you honestly that he has no idea where the right decisions come from. He’s just doing his thing. Every day.
When you have a distorted value system and you’re completely absorbed in the minutiae, it’s much harder to get the job done, much less make a decision. You’re constantly asking yourself, “Am I doing the right thing? Look at your abilities and priorities more soberly. Accept as a given that in most cases “good enough” is “perfect” and that mistakes in life are inevitable.
There’s a little voice inside all of us, and it tries to convince you that what you are doing-or are about to do, or are just thinking about doing-is a terrible idea that will destroy your life. He is there to warn you, to frighten you, to stop you. As a result, you begin to torment yourself. You may almost make a decision, suddenly give up on it, think you should ask someone else for advice, doubt your choice, destroy everything you have achieved, forget about all the words of praise and support you have been told, finally lose faith in yourself.
By focusing on one possible solution, we reject all others. We accept only those facts that support our opinion. The brain works the same way with intelligent, educated people and their opposites. In defending our position, we are not always prepared to consider the issue from other angles. By focusing on one chosen position and defending it, we lose objectivity.
Bob Bowman, the coach of legendary swimmer Michael Phelps, explains why his client decided to return to the sport after the London Olympics. At the time, he already had twenty-two Olympic medals, eighteen of them gold, a dozen world records and millions of dollars. “There are no other reasons. I want to come back for myself. I love swimming. I want to swim,” Michael said. – “I still have a lot to strive for. When making decisions, you have to think of yourself first: what would be the best course of action for you personally?
The easiest way to learn how to make decisions in different life circumstances is called a learning loop. It is a continuous loop of requests, thoughts, and actions. From it, we learn how to act so that we get what we need in every situation. Over time, this feedback loop, or learning loop, forms stereotypes of beliefs and behavior.
The reason we can’t make unbiased decisions lies in our brains. Everything we see, hear, smell and touch is transformed into electrical signals. They are transmitted from cell to cell until they reach the final point of the journey, the brain. There, the signals first pass through the limbic system, the area in which our emotions are formed, before reaching the part of the brain responsible for rational thought. Before reason comes into play, we evaluate things from an emotional standpoint. When we have to make a difficult decision, our feelings rage. We scroll through arguments in our heads, agonize over known circumstances, and change our minds daily. If the decision were a table, none of the numbers would change (because no new information was coming in), but in our heads it looks different. Where would an unbiased analysis come from?
If you know you’re prone to making bad decisions here and now, plan what you want to do ahead of time. Want to read an intellectual book? Schedule a day to start reading it. Can’t go to the gym? Determine a date and have your tracksuit ready from the evening. Make a decision and then just stick to it.
Thought control is the hardest part of the road to success. There’s nothing harder than that. It’s the biggest challenge of all. And frankly, the most important one. You have to admit that the road to success is harsh and hard. You are bound to get bruises and abrasions on it. So you need to be psychologically resilient. What you do, how far you go, how much you succeed, what you achieve – all these are the results of your ability to control your mind, your thoughts.
Even the faintest hint of an alternative is enough for you to make the right decision. Every time you make a choice, think about how you can increase the number of options. Thinking about where to order pizza? Why not make it at home! Want to go to a movie? There are plenty of other activities in the world – theater, museums, exhibitions. Thinking about one development, we significantly narrow the choice.
How to make the right decision in a difficult situation
Sages say that he who does not remember their achievements, sooner or later ceases to succeed, as the bustle of everyday life will wash away from him inside the feeling of a Winner. This feeling has to be a CONTINUING one. Then you will reinforce it with new victories.
Every person has to make decisions. Sometimes they are simple decisions: to have tea or coffee for breakfast. These are decisions we make casually, without paying much attention to them.
There are decisions that affect the long term or the quality of a person’s life. For example, the choice of profession, job change, marriage, moving to another city. In this case, it is important to make this decision consciously, taking into account a maximum of factors and accepting responsibility for the consequences. Nevertheless, such decisions do not cause difficulties either.
But there are decisions that make you worry for a long time and even lead to stress.
The decision has to be made here and now. There is no time to think about it.
The decision has to be made in a situation of uncertainty – little information about the situation.
The consequences of a bad decision have a significant impact on quality of life.
The decision affects others and/or affects a person’s personal values.
In such situations, it is important to recognize and accept several important things to avoid stress and frustration:
You have considered all of the information available to you. You have done everything possible to make the decision the best one for you.
You cannot know the future. If circumstances change, or if you learn additional information that you didn’t have at the time you made your decision, it’s important to switch to making the NEW decision.
I often get clients who tell me that past decisions have “ruined their lives,” had unintended consequences, or are simply disappointing.
I don’t support regrets about past decisions for one simple reason.
Regrets are “If only I had then. “, “I should have done things differently…” – are a drag on stress, reduce self-confidence, but give no real opportunity to influence what’s happening right now. And, as a rule, no matter what decisions we’ve made in the past, it’s important for us to do something with our present. This is why I suggest to my clients to focus on the current situation.
What can be done right now to make the situation better?
Often this means making new decisions. A situation of uncertainty is always scary and “clouds the view.” “What will happen if I’m wrong again” can sometimes almost paralyze a person, and then they tend not to make decisions at all or act in any way.
Therefore, it is important to use special methods-assistants that help restore “clarity of vision” and understanding of the situation and protect oneself as much as possible from uncertain consequences.
I believe that it is useful to consider both rational arguments and an intuitive understanding of what is happening. It is this holistic perception that allows you to take into account all the nuances and choose the best option.
I offer my clients during coaching sessions different variants of assistants-exercises that help them “see clearly”.
Here are a few simple aides, as well. The first two helpers include the logical side of analyzing a situation and are well known in business practice. However, they are great for everyday decisions as well.
The second two assistants allow us to address the archetypal resources of the personality, to include and bring to the level of awareness the intuitive perception of the situation.
Contemporary research shows that our intuitive knowledge of the world far exceeds our conscious awareness. Therefore, it is important to combine rational and in-depth knowledge together.
WITNESS #1. Descartes’ square.
Every goal has meaning and value to whoever decides to pursue it. Every goal has an outcome that can be measured. Every goal has a price we pay to achieve it. Compare the price you pay and the value you get from accomplishing the goal.
In each quadrant, write at least 5 options that are the first to come to your mind.
What would happen if this ACTUALLY happened?
How will this event change your life in key areas?
What important and valuable things will be added to your life if it happens?
What happens if it does NOT happen?
How will not having this event change your life in key areas – what will you lose and what will remain the same?
Is there value to you in having something in your life stay the same, no matter what?
What would NOT happen if it did?
What will you lose if you decide for this event?
What would it prevent?
What does it prevent?
What would NOT happen if it did NOT happen?
What will you lose if you turn down this event?
What is valuable and important that will be missing if this event does not happen?
WITNESS #2. SWOT Analysis
Every decision has strengths + opportunities that it presents. And at the same time, there are weaknesses and risks that it presents. If you compare the opportunities with the risks, you can see the real cost of the decision. And to estimate the internal readiness to follow it.
Strengths of a decision
What does this decision add to your life that is valuable and important to you personally?
Weaknesses of the decision
How does this decision limit you?
What opportunities does this decision open up for you?
What might your next steps be?
What could be the bonuses of this solution?
What price you will pay to implement this solution?
What are your risks if you make this decision?
How will this risk affect your quality of life?
WITNESS #3. Transformation .
Sometimes we lack the inner confidence to make decisions in a situation of uncertainty, the recognition that the best decisions are always known to our heart.
In order to appeal to the deeper resources and intuitive knowledge of the “better way,” the symbolism of images can be used. Symbols and archetypes open the door to the unconscious, which is the vast repository of all the knowledge about the world that humanity has accumulated throughout its history.
This inner self-support helps you to trust yourself and your decisions even in a very difficult situation.
Imagine one or more characters who you think would act best in your situation.
These could be real people you know, characters from fairy tales or archetypal images.
People you know might be your grandmother or your boss or mentor or friend.
Fairy tale characters – the wise Baba Yaga, Vasilisa the Wise, the Three Bogatyrs, the Wise Man, the Grey Wolf, the Little Humpbacked Horse, the Firebird.
Archetypical figures – Merchant, General, Perfect Mistress, Amazon, Defender.
Historical personalities – Coco Chanel, Vladimir the Red Sun, Napoleon.
Any image you present can give you an additional resource and help you see the situation from a different role.
All you have to do is ask yourself: What would I do if I were… (Merchant, Dobrynia Nikitich, my boss…).
Write down on a piece of paper all the images and key phrases that come to your mind.
Select the characters according to the only key criterion – they must have the most appropriate abilities for your situation.
If it’s about a successful deal – perhaps it’s a KUPEZ, a sales trainer or someone you know who successfully negotiates.
If it’s about defending your position in a dispute – perhaps you fit the image of the Defender, the Diplomat, a trainer in the art of negotiation, or your uncle, who is a master of speech strategies.
You can “put on” the role and transform for a couple of minutes into several characters at a time, each time writing down all the thoughts and answers that come to mind. Then, returning to the perception of yourself, analyze the information you received.
What would Cleopatra have done in my place? What would Napoleon have done? What would Buddha have said? What advice would my grandmother have given me? How would Coco Chanel handle the situation?
WITNESS 4: The Situation After One Year
Imagine your story unfolding through the seasons of the year. Imagine the point NOW as the season of the year. What does it relate to for you personally?
Mentally “settle” your story in FALL. That period when you were just beginning to make plans for changes, new goals and projects.
Choose a point in the space of the room that will symbolize FALL for you. From FALL look at what you’ve achieved before, what past successes will help you now?
Write down all the thoughts that come into your head on a blank piece of paper. Fold the sheet in half.
Take a step forward – let the winter sets in. This is the period of rest, nurturing your plans, working out your action strategies, and preparing for your activities.
From WINTER, write down everything you should do to prepare for a new life stage or project in the best possible way. What people you can enlist to help. What activities you can do now.
Fold the sheet in half.
Take a step forward – make way for SPRING. This is a period of boisterous energy and vibrant life. At this point of SPRING, feel the energy of movement and thirst for activity overwhelm you. Imagine what you would do first, what your second step would be. If you can, make a rough plan of action for the start. Write down everything that comes to mind – feelings and plans.
Fold the sheet in half.
Take a step forward – allow SUMMER to come. This is a period of activity, hard work to achieve the cherished goal. This is also the first successes, celebrating victories and the triumph of accomplished plans. Feel how it feels to be proud of success, to recognize their achievements. Imagine how your life will change for the better when you successfully implement the plan. Feel the burst of vital energy and strength overflowing, and the inspiration that fills you to your fingertips. This is an incredibly pleasant feeling, which bursts your chest and makes you want to move, talk and laugh…
Remember the feeling of victory and the flourishing of your life.
Write down the sensations in your body that come at that moment. Write down the feelings that rise in your chest. Write down the thoughts that come to you.
Take a step aside.
Let your new project or life stage be accompanied by these pleasant feelings, emotions and sensations. Start moving forward with the anticipation of the victory you have just set your mind to.