This Element is an excerpt from The Truth About Making Smart Decisions (9780132354639) by Robert E. Gunther. Available in print and digital formats.
Understand the real impact of stress on your decision-making–so you can use it to your advantage and avoid falling victim to it.
Samuel Johnson once said, “When a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” This can also be true in critical, time-sensitive decisions. The fight-or-flight response kept human beings out of the jaws of saber-tooth tigers and helps jet fighter pilots pull out of a crash. Decision making can improve under stress, up to a point. But, past that point….