When is the Best Time to Make an Important Decision?


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When you are in an emotional state, the prefrontal cortex, your rational, executive command and control center, shuts down. The amygdala, the emotional control center of the brain, then takes over.

When the amygdala is in control of your decision-making, logic is removed from the decision-making process.

A common example of this is overcommitment.

A boss, supervisor, or client requests a meeting with you. At the meeting they ask you to do something for them. Some new project or initiative. Your plate is full. You know this because your prefrontal cortex informs you of this in real time. However, you also want to please them. That desire to please is an emotion.

Your prefrontal cortex recedes into the background, suppressed by the fired up amygdala, which was turned on the moment your desire to please entered the meeting. You walk out of the meeting with more work.

The next morning you wake up. Your amygdala has quieted down and your prefrontal cortex is back in control. Your first thoughts are “why did I say yes?” You have a family and other responsibilities that will now be impacted by our emotional decision.

You didn’t have an opportunity to discuss the impact of this new commitment with your partner or spouse before you made the decision. Now, after the fact, you must. This new commitment will require your partner or spouse to take on additional responsibilities. Their plate, however, is also full. You fight. You’re both unhappy.

Overcommitment is a Poor Habit. It is always an emotion-based decision. To remove the emotions from your decision-making, you must give your amygdala time to calm down and allow your prefrontal cortex to control the decision-making.

The best time to make a decision is upon waking up in the morning. This is when the amygdala is dormant. Deferred decisions remove the amygdala from the decision-making process and put your prefrontal cortex in control. The decision you make will very likely be the right decision.

“Let me sleep on it.”

There’s a lot of old, sound wisdom in those five words.

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Thomas C. Corley About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley is a bestselling author, speaker, and media contributor for Business Insider, CNBC and a few other national media outlets.

His Rich Habits research has been read, viewed or heard by over 50 million people in 25 countries around the world.

Besides being an author, Tom is also a CPA, CFP, holds a master’s degree in taxation and is President of Cerefice and Company, a CPA firm in New Jersey.
Phone Number: 732-382-3800 Ext. 103.
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