How to avoid making decisions you will regret

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Emotions have all made us make decisions we regret. Maybe you got mad at your parents and said something really mean or maybe you were rude to your co-worker for no reason. Either way, making bad decisions can sometimes be more severe than just feeling regret. It can get you fired, ruin your reputation, and destroy relationships. 

One of the main causes of bad decisions is emotions. When we let emotions take control, we lose rationality and seek temporary fulfillment like shouting at your co-worker or telling your parents you hate them. And eventually, we regret the decision and hope we could go back in time. 

I once had a friend that lost his father at a very young age. He had an overwhelming feeling of regret and guilt all of his life because he always told his father he hated him after arguments. Unfortunately, his father passed away unexpectedly and my friend never got the chance to fix the relationship. This is only one example of why controlling our emotions is important. 

What is the solution? Well, one option you have is to increase your reaction time. Let’s say you get into an argument with your partner. Instead of instantly reacting, you take a step back, maybe even remove yourself physically, and wait till the emotions pass. You might want to disappear for a while until you feel calm and let go of the emotions. 

While doing so, maybe write an angry email (Never actually send it) or throw a tantrum while you’re alone to let the emotions go. After letting the emotions go, you can return to your partner and talk things out without letting emotions get in the way. This way, no one gets hurt and you make rational decisions that won’t hurt you! 

Lesson: 

  • Increase your reaction time

“When some event or interaction requires a response, you must train yourself to step back. This could mean physically removing yourself to a place where you can be alone and not feel any pressure to respond. Or it could mean writing that angry email but not sending it. You sleep on it for a day or two. You do not make phone calls or communicate while feeling sudden emotion, particularly hate. 

The longer you can take the better because perspective comes with time. Consider this like resistance training, the longer you can resist reacting, the more mental space you have for actual reflection, and the stronger your mind will become.” – Text from The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene 

Book: The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene 

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