The future cannot be known. Human behavior is too unpredictable to assume what tomorrow will bring. Yet, we expect the plans we make to be fulfilled, and we continue moving forward, not giving much thought as to how we will respond if and when something throws us off course.

And what happens then? How do you respond when the plans you made are going south and the future you thought was certain is now unclear?

This month, we are going to dive into our reactions to uncertainty. In other words, we are going to work through our decision-making responses when under stress. A decision under stress is a reaction to uncertainty.

Let’s take a look at Physical Energy, Assertiveness, and Thought. We are only going to be looking at Stress scores.

  • High Physical Energy, High Assertiveness, Low Thought: This Stress combination will generally respond too quickly, trying to take action to get things “back on track.” It can be impulsive, driven by a frustration with ambiguity, reacting too quickly to a change, and then plowing over anyone who doesn’t agree.
  • Low Physical Energy, Low Assertiveness, High Thought: This Stress is the opposite. Instead, it is a delay in a necessary response due to fear in making a bad decision. It can be indecisive and cause over-processing of information. And, it will give in to popular opinion without voicing a disagreeing opinion.

These are just two typical combinations. There are, of course, several others. Generally, we see the Physical Energy Stress direction going the opposite of the Thought Stress direction, with the Assertiveness easily being High or Low with no relation to the other two. On the odd occurrence that the Physical Energy and ThoughtStress go the same direction, that would produce a natural balance in Stress response.

The Assertiveness Stress will either plow through others to accomplish the decision once made or give in to others even when in disagreement.

Keep in mind, these are Stress responses. The more we can “let go” of the unknown, the easier it will be to make clear-headed, calm, practical decisions. There are many different Stress responses and combinations that can work against us when trying to make decisions. We will look at some more next month.

How do your Stress scores impact your decision-making ability? After identifying your Stress responses, how can you work on making better decisions when operating under Stress?

Update: Click here for Part II