Making good decisions not only requires wise counsel and accurate information, it also requires knowing when to make a decision and when to hold off. Here are 6 times when it is better to delay a decision until you are in a better state to make it.
1. When you are really angry.
Anger is a powerful emotion, and it can skew our thinking in such a way that we say or do things we would not normally do. Proverbs 14:17 says a quick-tempered person does foolish things – and it’s likely we all have firsthand experience with this! So, when you are really angry – it is wise to wait before you act or speak.
2. When you are exhausted.
Fatigue can result in making decisions that may feel right at that moment of exhaustion but may not feel so good once the fatigue has lifted. So when you are feeling burned-out, be careful regarding the decisions you choose to make.
3. When you are unusually anxious.
Anxiety can be brutal. It can take your mind captive and overwhelm your judgment. Such anxiety can be so distressing that people will make any decision just to end it. However good it may feel at the moment, such decisions are often regretted later on when the anxiety is ratcheted down. So take extra caution when making decisions while battling a bout of anxiety.
4. When you just experienced a major loss.
A major loss such as the death of someone special, a divorce, or a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness often reshapes our normal thought processes. Such powerful life events can lead us to make impulsive decisions – ones that we will regret later on after a “new normal” returns. Financial planners, lawyers and psychologists often remind their clients to not make any major decisions immediately after a traumatic life event.
5. When someone you highly trust is opposed.
When you have great trust in someone, it does not imply you will never go against their advice, but it does mean you should take a pause and give further thought regarding why they are opposing or cautioning you. We are counseled to “turn our ear towards wisdom” (Proverbs 5:1) – while this does not mean that the person who is opposed is right, it does mean that you better make sure you know you are.
6. When you feel extraordinarily great.
Nothing feels more energizing than a big win or a great success. It is at such times that you likely feel a sense of exuberance, excitement and confidence. These are some of the fun aspects of success. But success can also breed over-confidence, and even arrogance, that can result in decisions built on a faulty foundation. While the emotions that follow success are to be enjoyed, don’t let them deceive you.
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.