Dale Carnegie said to never make a decision based on your first thought or impulse, those rarely bring positive outcomes. I agree because, often, the worst decisions are those that are not well thought out. It’s best to let things simmer and then proceed with caution but beware, don’t move to the other extreme; inaction. Quoting Dale Carnegie “Once you’ve made a decision based on facts, go into action. Don’t stop to reconsider. Don’t begin to hesitate, worry, and retrace your steps. Don’t lose yourself in self-doubting which begets other doubts. Don’t keep looking back over your shoulder.”
I’ve done plenty of stupid things based on emotion, not facts. I don’t call them mistakes because I think everything we do is a learning experience, that will hopefully stick and help us become better at decision-making. Nowadays, I’m better at sitting still before I make a move by asking myself some questions:
- How will this contribute to my wellbeing or those of others?
- Will this take away my sleep?
- Can it wait?
- Is this decision based on instant gratification?
- How will it affect my future?
- Is it something I’ll feel proud of?
- And so on…
While it may be hard to answer these questions when you are experiencing an emotional tantrum, they will help you see through it and wait it out. Clarity comes after a waiting period. This is why it takes 6 months to get divorced if all goes well: the cooling period. We all need one, especially when we have to make certain important and life changing decisions. We need perspective and some detachment.
Whatever you do, make sure you do it knowing all the facts and that it was the best you could come up with after careful thought. Sometimes you have to improvise and time is running out, but our brains are also wired to work fast when we are in dire straights.