"Your mood impacts how you make decisions. Emotions influence your urgency, the amount of risk you're willing to take, and even your motives. Nobody wants to make emotional decisions, but they're really tempting. It's like scratching an itch; it feels good when you do it, but it often makes things even worse.
There are three types of emotions that affect your decision-making. The emotions are either incidental, immediate, or anticipated.
- Incidental emotions have nothing to do with your decision; it's the mood you're in when the decision comes up.
- Immediate emotions are the feelings you experience when evaluating your decision.
- Anticipated emotions are the feelings you expect your decision to create in the future.
Think about it: when you're making a decision, your emotions have you surrounded. They're coming at you from the past, the present, and even the future. The good news is this: most decisions don't have to be made right there on the spot. You've got time to consider your options and you want to put that time to good use.
Here's how you do that:
- You can choose the time and place that you mull over your options, and this is going to reduce the impact of incidental emotions.
- When you're thinking about a decision, think in the third person. Here's what it sounds like when I do it: "Scott's sitting down to make a decision and he's frustrated after a long day. He's starting to consider his options and he's frustrated to be put in this position. Now he's getting a little pissed off, but he's going to feel relieved once he makes a decision."
I sounded like a play-by-play announcer, I know, but that's how I think of myself in the third person. Notice how I look for incidental, immediate, and anticipated emotions. When you think in the third person, you distance yourself from incidental, immediate, and anticipated emotions. You can look more objectively at options and your conclusions become more rational.
Then you want to repeat this process two or three times. Choose different settings and times of day to mull over your options. Think in the third person and call out the different types of emotions like a play-by-play announcer and see what conclusions you reach. Chances are you're going to start landing on the same decision, and that decision is going to be more rational because you've effectively managed your emotions."