The One Thing Emotionally Intelligent People Do Before Making Big Decisions

The One Thing Emotionally Intelligent People Do Before Making Big Decisions

When faced with an important decision, we’re often advised to be rational and take our feelings out of the equation.

The common prescription for uncertainty is to sit down with a piece of paper and write a list of pros and cons.

The One Thing Emotionally Intelligent People Do Before Making Big Decisions

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Emotions are dangerous and can lead to rash, impulsive decisions.

Emotionally intelligent people know better: they always factor in their emotions, but only the relevant ones. 

A 2013 study published in Psychological Science showed that understanding the source and relevance of emotions is key.

Emotions that sabotage the decision-making process usually have nothing to do with the current decision at hand but are instead carried over from other incidents:

  • A frustrating commute
  • An argument with a spouse
  • A lost smartphone

The study showed that emotionally intelligent people don’t remove ALL emotions from their decision-making – just the unrelated ones. 

How to Use Emotional Intelligence to Make Better Decisions:

Check-in With Your Emotions Daily

Be aware of your emotions so you can learn to identify, acknowledge, and trust them.

Breathe

Take a moment to breathe and clear your mind.

Separate yourself from any lingering negative or positive emotions unrelated to the decision at hand.

(It’s not about whether the emotions make you feel good or bad – it is about relevance. So, even if you’re feeling excited, elated, or passionate, if these emotions are unrelated to the decision, they need to be temporarily shelved).

Reflect

Once you are centered, calm, and have shaken off any residual emotions unrelated to the decision at hand, ask yourself:

  • How do I feel?
  • What is my gut telling me?
  • Is this decision in line with my values?
  • Is it aligned with my goals?
  • Am I making this decision based on outside pressures or influences?

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