6 Emotions That Can Cloud Our Judgment and How to Make Better Decisions

“Don’t let your emotions outweigh your intelligence.” ~Unknown

I jump to ridiculous conclusions when I’m emotional, and I’m like Anyone else in that sometimes they get the best of me. And it’s pretty damn embarrassing in those moments, especially if I’ve been stupid enough to make anyType of decision.

It can be difficult to know when your judgement is clouded or clouded by emotions. Many of us don’t know how to read the signals. Hence why we get swept away by our caveman instincts and find ourselves saying, “All I see is red when I’m angry.”

This is an example of a SevereProblem as an adult.

Children mirror the world around them at school and home. They parrot what they see and assume that’s the appropriate response. Father was burned to the ground Wendy’sThey were out mayonnaise so it was logical to punch Samantha because she made a happy face at school.

Every human on this planet, including you, is flawed. I don’t mean this in a demeaning you should be ashamed, get your sh*t together, holier than thou, I know better lecture.

I’m speaking from the stance of being a master at putting myself in stupid situations where it would take friggin’ Houdini-level skills to escape the mess I’ve created.

This is why I do what I do. Because my emotions run wild when I’m not looking after myself.

When humans are only guided by their emotions, they make terrible decisions (that quickly vanish). It’s like having horse blinders on. The only thing that we focus on is what’s in front of our eyes. This is then filtered by the emotions we feel. We’re blind to all the other inputs that could help us better manage the situation.

It’s the same reason why 99 percent of people lose money investing in individual stocks. They buy and sell based on their emotions rather than on the company’s value (the only thing that matters).

As investment author William Green said, “Most people make their investment decisions (and life decisions) on the basis of an unreliable hodgepodge of half-baked logic, biases, hunches, emotion, and vague fantasies or fears about the future.”

Ken Shubin Stein, a man who is well-versed in high-pressure decision making, knows all about it. After two decades of managing a New York hedge fund, he retired in 2009. He’s also a professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Business, where he has taught Advanced Investment Research since 2009. Because he enjoys geeking out about the mind, he decided to be a neurologist.

You’re probably wondering, What could you do to live a more fulfilling life than a manager of a hedge-fund?

Because the success of his career is judged on one basic idea—don’t make stupid decisions. And I don’t know about you, but wouldn’t life be a lot easier if you felt confident about your decision-making (regardless of how chaotic your life feels)?

Six specific emotions guarantee you’re going to make a crappy decision.

Can you guess their names?

You can count as many as you like before reading on. Consider the time when you were a bad decision. What were your emotions?

I’ll give you a clue. Shubin Stein employs the acronym HALT-PSAs a reminder that he should pause whenever these emotions are affecting his judgement. He takes it one step further and postpones important decisions until he’s in a state where these emotions don’t flood his brain.

Below are the bad guys behind poor decision making.







Consider the following: HALT-PSAs a huge red stop sign. You should stop if you sense any of these emotions. You wouldn’t just rip through a stop sign going at full speed because you’re in a rush, so why would you make a rash decision that has a damn good chance of causing you to crash into oncoming traffic?

The buffer created by HALT-PS is between emotion and decision. Because full-blown emotions last only a few seconds, this time delay can prove to be life-saving. It is possible to take a moment and slow down. You will be able to think clearly, see the bigger picture, and you’ll also have more time for other things.

How come? HALT-PSIt is such an effective technique that you should have it in your toolbox. It helps answer the question. Why could this be??

This framework doesn’t only help with the life-changing decisions we make when we’re emotionally overwhelmed. This framework can help us to see ourselves and recognize the path it takes us.

I’m a first-time dad with a five-week-old daughter. It’s not easy. In her second week alive, I was already telling myself that I wasn’t strong enough to be a dad. It was only because I had exhausted myself that it became a reality. Did I really think she would be disappointed?

In a previous life, I wouldn’t have allowed that to be my future story. Now, however, I am reassessing because I see many reasons I may be wrong.

Here I am five weeks in, and I regret selling myself short because I didn’t give myself the chance to prove myself. I’m doing the best I can at something I’ve never done before. Isn’t that the single best lesson we can ever hope to teach a kid? Give it your all. Don’t regret what you’re trying your best on.

Without the awareness of HALT-PS, I wouldn’t have recognized that my thinking was impaired under a cloud of sleep deprivation and stress.

We can see our thoughts clearly and make decisions about what to do with them.

Every argument does not have to end in a fight. Not every argument has to end in a fight. With awareness of the emotions in our moment we can easily deescalate situations.

Use it! HALT-PSFor this reason. To ignore our emotions is like drinking and driving. It’s stupid. You don’t have the cognitive ability to make a safe decision.

In the heat of the moment, our emotional disposition and moods routinely distort what we see and how we relate to what’s going on. I’m not that angryIt’s like saying I’ve only had a few beers. It doesn’t take much to wrap you around a pole.

Simple is best. Sometimes it is best to not make any decisions at all.

We aren’t making decisions about our lives that will affect our futures. You can take a step back and see the bigger picture through HALT-PS.

Do you feel an emotion? Be vulnerable.

I’ve gotten in the habit of telling my wife the truth, and it’s a rather novel idea that works pretty damn well. When I’m charged up, I tell her I’m not in the emotional headspace you deserve for this conversation. When I have the capacity, I promise we will talk about this because I know it’s important to you.

Don’t forget to be aware. Be aware HALT-PSIt’s like having magical powers. It doesn’t make the emotions go away, but you will become a master at surfing the waves that so many people get crushed by.

Chris Wilson

Chris Wilson is bipolar and creative, with an eye for personal improvement. He is passionate about productivity, minimalism and living a happy life. Simplify YourWhy is his blog, in which he shares the lessons he learned from his struggles with depression, bipolar type II, and entrepreneurship. A free course was created by him for those who want to live a simpler, happier and more productive life with less stress. It is available by clicking this link.

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Tiny Buddha’s post Six Emotions that Can cloud Our Judgment and How To Make Better Decisions originally appeared on Tiny Buddha.

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