Taking Control


I read a really interesting article about “How and when to make a decision”.

You have a big decision to make……Which of the following would help you make the right choice: being in a state of sexual excitement or having a full bladder?

and before you ask me “what type of magazine was this?”, I will tell you that it was the The Economist – intelligent life.

The funny thing is that the real answer according to the article is : if your bladder was full. Tests were done to collect decision-making statistics from a bunch of people who were made to drink lots of water. The participants were not allowed to go to the toilet and had to answer a series of decision-making questions to the best of their abilities.

It seems that when we do something like acting reserved specifically when we are very angry, for example, we deplete some of our ego. This state of mind allows us to be more in control. However, apparently our decision-making process is also easily affected by touch and things happening around us. It is unbelievable how much we can be influenced.

In a recent study, they proved that interviewers were influenced by the weight of their clipboards when interviewing candidates for a role. So make sure that when you go to an interview the person isn’t holding onto anything too heavy or anything too light, they might find you too boring and rigid or maybe too flaky. I always make a point to speak to difficult people after lunch, because I have noticed that this makes a huge difference also.

If I have to think about myself and reflect back to how I usually decide on things, I would say it is a combination of gut feel (based on a knowledgeable guess according to my experience) and according the facts that I have been presented. I try to abstract myself from the situation and think of the different possibilities, take a breath acknowledge the confirmation of my train of thought and give the subject with my answer. If I am emotionally connected to the situation, no matter what facts you present me, my choice of the behaviour I wish to take will have a profound affect on my choice. Meaning, I will choose to see the world the way I want to see it and throw a hissy fit if I think it’s appropriate! It probably never is, but I am a woman after all.

I suppose that is not very helpful, but knowing that I am like this allows me to sometimes be able to restrain myself and deplete my ego :).

I have had much advice handed to me over the years, even when I have not wanted it. One of the things that I was taught was; don’t always jump back with a response, take some time to absorb what is being said. If it is on an email you can go ahead and write a response, but don’t send it. Read it again when you are calm, see if you have misinterpreted it. Re-read your answer and confirm that it is in fact what you want to reply with and send.

Given yourself that extra time to process and stabilise helps you gain higher ground, be confident in what you are saying, ensures that your integrity is intact and keeps you level-headed.

Oh, and if I need to go to the toilet then I would go. Worst thing is for you to be pulled into a long meeting having to make decisions, while you bouncing up and down on your chair trying to contain yourself and making rash decisions.

Good luck!

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2 thoughts on “Taking Control

  1. Heh, would those difficult people be Maciej and myself lol ;). Its quite smart to use this particular timing to talk to difficult people after lunch as peoples energy levels will most likely be at their lowest and easiest to work with.

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