Making snap decisions is something that we are all going to have to do at some point.
So what do we do at that moment, when this decision, that we wish we had time to mull over, doesn’t have time to be thought out?
What we do is rely on what we have learned about making snap decisions. Let’s take a deeper look and see if we can get ourselves prepared for when these times come.
Time for Decisions.
Responsible living requires that we make the best decisions we can in the time we are allowed. It requires that we do our due diligence to make sense of what we are facing, then make a decision.
These decisions that we make can be unforgiving. Once we make them and put them into action, there is generally no turning back.
Sometimes we have time to prepare for these decisions we have to face. But there are going to be many times in life wherein a moments notice, we will have to make an unexpected decision, that we were not prepared for.
Decision-Making Vs Impulsivity.
Our bodily impulses are energies that pulse throughout bodies and nudge us to take actions.
There is a similarity between making a snap decision, and acting on impulsivity. They are similar in the quickness in which they are deployed, which is, in a moments notice.
But there is also a glaring difference between the two. That difference being that one involves us making an active decision, while the other tends to be a quick habitual reaction.
Much of the time Impulsivity can get us into trouble, because of the lack of a conscious decision. But sometimes it is all that we have to work with. Sometimes there simply is not enough time to formulate a decision we intellectually know to be sound.
What we need to do is learn to meld the two together. Allowing our decision-making game to be on point in pressured moments, not allowing our impulses to entirely take control, but allowing them to act quickly with our conscious consent.
Making the Best Snap Decisions in Pressured Situations.
It is pressured situations that are most likely going to test our impulses and decision-making capabilities.
In situations that bring pressure to act, it is our hopefully informed impulses that we must rely on. If our impulses are not informed about the best possible decisions and actions to take, then we are in a bad place.
Here are some skills you may want to add to your routine so that when the time comes for snap decisions, you will be mentally and emotionally ready.
1. Stay on Top of Everyday Routine Decisions.
The logic is simple, the more we neglect to take care of all the little decisions we need to make on a daily basis, the less good decision capability we will have in pressured moments.
Staying on top of our everyday routine decisions sets us up for success in moments where we need to think quickly.
To keep on top of these decisions we need to be aware of them. It is easy to forget all of the little decisions we need to make. This isn’t a complicated concept, get your schedule written down, in a book or on your phone. This way it will be easier for our brains to be focused on the present moment, and more agile to make snap decisions.
2. Be Aware of what is coming.
Having a keen awareness of what is coming up in life is a beautiful thing. But it isn’t a skill that is developed without effort. It also isn’t necessarily a difficult thing to practice.
The most difficult part about developing awareness for what is coming up in our lives is paying attention. With all the distractions we face, simply remembering to write upcoming events down in our schedules can be tough. Not complicated, but tough.
Making sure that we have these events written down gives us the opportunity to remember them. And if we can remember them, then we can give a little thought and imagination into envisioning how to be prepared.
Most of these upcoming events don’t require much thought, but giving a little thought, even to our routine events can shed light on how we can be best prepared. Being prepared makes it easier to make snap decisions when those situations arise. This goes for what could go wrong, but don’t forget to do this for being more productive as well.
3. Prepare for what is coming.
There is a reason that coaches and drill instructors have their people practice as rigorously as they do. It is because those small movements that need to be made to be successful in pressured moments, need to become a habit. They need to be able to be done without thinking about them. That is because in sports and in armed conflict, events unfold quickly, and having to think about each little action is a recipe for poor performance.
For our average daily lives, most of us aren’t purposely repeating behaviors over and over to perfect the movements. Outside the realm of public speaking, I have never really set up mock sessions so I could perfect the average movements I will need to make to not make a fool of myself. That could be a helpful thing to do I guess, but that seems a bit obsessive, and not at all up my alley.
I will often use imagination to practice future scenarios though. Doing this with a mind that isn’t overly stressed out and plenty stable can give a decently clear picture of what may come. In imagining the future event, we can think of certain ways the scene might turn out. And with thinking those circumstances out we can think of ways of counteracting what might unexpectedly happen.
This advice certainly must come with a warning though. We must remember that our imaginations are not reality. Just because our imagination leads us to expectations for certain outcomes, of course, doesn’t mean that is what is going to happen. We must remain mentally and emotionally flexible, don’t get trapped in rigid expectations.
4. Respect Upcoming Deadlines.
For as big of pains deadlines can be, they have a great deal of importance in bringing about positive results. Without deadlines, it can be much more difficult to spark action to get what needs to be done, done.
Deadlines create internal pressure for us, and this pressure of internal impulses is a great way to bring about creative results. Studies have shown that too little pressure, as well as too much pressure, are not good for creativity. Right in the middle though, there is a sweet spot of internal pressure that will help us churn out amazing solutions for any problem we may face. This phenomenon is called the Yerkes/Dodson Law.
If we don’t respect upcoming deadlines, we are irresponsibly setting ourselves up for trouble. There is a reason we feel the pressure when deadlines are fast approaching. That reason is that there is preparing left to do, we don’t feel ready, so our impulses push us to get informed.
When going into a situation we care about unprepared, the pressure can be immense. But sometimes even if we are well-prepared, the pressure will still be palpable.
5. Just Breathe and Focus on the Moment.
Too much pressure is not a good breeding ground for desired results. But there will definitely be times in our lives when the snap decisions we have to make will be highly pressurized.
We need to make sure we aren’t feeling like victims to the pressure. This internal pressure is not here to harm us, it is here to transform us.
If unprepared, intense moments may rattle our brains with too much stress. And as some of you may have heard we actually lose IQ points when in states of high stress.
In the process of preparing for events that are coming and while engaged with them, relaxing, breathing, and focusing on the moment are always helpful. When relaxed in the moment, we need not worry about screwing up, and what may harm us. Stress is able to fade or be used to fuel our prompt actions to handle the situation in front of us.
We are all going to find ourselves in situations where we will need to make a snap decision. And the habits written above will add to the likelihood of positive snap decision results. But no matter how prepared we are there will always be aspects that are unaccounted for.
We can only prep as much as we can. There is no need to overly obsess about what is coming up next. Room also needs to be made for our natural intelligences to flexibly take care of business in the moment!
Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We sincerely wish you amazing success in learning how to make effective snap decisions.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.
For more information about Decision Making from My Life Experiment, check out these articles.
-Practicing Discernment for Guiding our Lives Well.