Stress is part of our everyday lives. We experience and respond to stress differently.
What one person considers to be highly stressful may be very manageable to another person, therefore we should evaluate each situation on its merits. No matter what we consider to be stressful, one thing that’s common is whenever we generate negative emotions as a result of feeling stressed, our decision-making ability will be affected.
How Stress Affects Your Decision-Making Ability
Interestingly, making a decision can be perceived as being stressed in itself, however there are some common patterns when we make decisions under high stress.
- We tend to more consider positive outcomes rather than also consider negative outcomes.
- We pay more attention to positive information and discount negative information.
- We find it more difficult to control our urges as we focus more on the rewards rather than the consequences.
- We may take risks without fully considering all options and scenarios.
- We will not operate or behave as we normally would.
The amount of stress we experience will affect the way we make decisions.
The ability to not let external conditions, circumstances or events affect us is a vital skill to have if we want to be mentally tough and remain level-headed.
Knowing how to respond when things happen in a calm, confident manner is a better quality to have than always reacting to things, which means we’re controlled by things outside of ourselves.
What Does it Mean to Be Level-Headed?
When someone is considered level-headed, it means they:
- Pause and think before they respond in any situation.
- Have developed their mental faculty of perception so they can look at things from different points of view.
- Are able to make the right decisions, most times.
- Are comfortable with who they are and what they want to do.
- Have a healthy attitude and tend to be in a positive mental state more often than not.
Developing the characteristics of level-headed people will help us be mentally strong, result in better mental and emotional health, and a higher level of self-confidence and self-esteem.
The challenge is knowing how to be level-headed, while staying true to who we are, and not coming across as someone that’s robotic, who does the same things and operates the same way over and over.
Knowing how to be calm when dealing with difficult people can be a huge advantage.
Sometimes, it can be tempting to respond in the same manner when someone is being difficult, but that very rarely leads to a mutually beneficial outcome.
It’s valuable to know that when someone is being difficult, most times, they may not be aware that they’re coming across as being difficult. If we have ways to handle difficult people, we can turnaround a difficult situation and still get a positive outcome.
At a personal development training program I once attended, during one of the sessions, the facilitator was explaining a concept and leading an open discussion about the concept with the participants. Everyone were sitting on the floor in an open space, with the facilitator walking around managing the discussions.
One participant asked a question, which the facilitator answered, and they had a short dialogue, that would have lasted less than thirty-seconds. Something the participant said may have been misheard or misinterpreted by the facilitator and suddenly out of the blue, the participant screamed, “That’s not what I said!”
That certainly got everyone’s attention. The tension was building and I remember thinking at that time, “How would I handle a situation like this?”
What the facilitator did in that moment I thought was best thing he could have done to deal with the situation.
As more and more opportunities come our way, being able to delegate effectively will be vital if we want to meet our objectives.
The reality is we can’t “do it all” because not only is it exhausting mentally, emotionally and physically, it also may not be the best use of our time.
It doesn’t matter who we are, whether we’re a stay-at-home parent, employee, or business owner, being able to free up time to focus on high-value activities is critical to getting things done on time and achieving the success we want.
Examples of high-value activities include:
- If you’re a business owner or entrepreneur, it may be focusing on innovation and revenue-generating strategies.
- If you’re a parent, it may be spending quality time with your children.
- If you’re an employee, it may be moving a major project forward in order to meet your deadlines.
The better we’re able to delegate low-value activities, the more time we will free up so that we can focus on what’s most important.
Our ability to communicate well and explain things simply is a critical skill to have if we want to lead with confidence and have the impact we’d like to.
Throughout history, great communicators have left a lasting legacy because of their ability to influence the thoughts and actions of audiences through the power of words.
If we want to make a bigger difference in our families, communities, our work, or in the world, we must develop the ability to speak confidently and explain things more effectively.
Whenever we’re speaking, there are always two things we have to do well, which are:
- Figuring out what to say, and
- Knowing how to say it.
Having structures or frameworks can help us understand things better, which will also help us explain things better. Structures help us say things more effectively and avoid confusion.
Whenever there’s confusion, there may be different interpretations of what’s being said, which can result in wrong actions being taken.
If we want to be known for our communication abilities, having structures we can use at any time, is highly beneficial.
There is something admirable about people who are resilient and keep going no matter what obstacles they face.
Stories of struggle often become lessons in how to stay strong, be persistent and solve problems in order to achieve goals. The term “resilient” is often used to describe someone who has been through difficult challenges and has been able to overcome them.
What is Resilience?
In it’s simplest definition, resilience is someone’s capacity to deal with, adapt and overcome challenges in life.
These challenges can be everyday stresses, trauma, tragedy or any significant emotional event that will require someone to use their mental and emotional strength to get through them.
Why is Resilience Important?
There are many benefits to having a higher level of resiliency and these include:
- It will develop our mental strength.
- It will increase our self-confidence.
- It will cause us to learn more and develop more of ourselves.
- It will help us develop more patience.
- It will help us clarify our priorities.
The more we can develop our ability to be resilient, the greater the likelihood we will overcome our challenges with more ease and a lot less stress.
Even though we’re all unique, we often find ourselves imitating others or trying to be someone we’re not.
The idea of being our true selves is of greater importance if we’re in any type of leadership role because our words, behaviours and actions will influence and impact others, either in a positive or negative way.
While it’s valuable to learn from others so that we can improve our leadership abilities, what will help make us stand out from other leaders, is our ability to be unique.
It’s important to remember that we should never pretend to be someone we’re not, but we can adopt qualities, traits or behaviours from leaders we admire and incorporate them into our leadership style, while staying true to who we are.
A number of years ago, I did some training work for a company, where I was part of a team of training consultants focused on introducing a new way of training employees. While the training methodology had been around for many years, it was a very new concept in the company.
The words we use has a huge impact on how we feel and what we experience on a daily basis.
If we use more positive words, whether it’s in written form or spoken, we’ll tend to be more optimistic, cheerful and confident. On the other hand, if we use more negative words, we’ll tend to be more pessimistic, focused on what’s going wrong and not be as self-assured or self-confident as we’d like to be.
As a result of our early programming and the external environments we’re exposed to, most people know and use more negative words instead of positive words.
It’s a matter of perspective whether using positive words is better than using negative words and the context in which they’re used, however it’s useful to know the effect the words we use are having on us and those we interact with.
Certain words we use on a regular basis may be causing us to have low confidence, therefore it’s extremely valuable to know what they are so we can consciously choose to use more empowering words.
Many years ago in my manufacturing career, I had just started a new role as a site manager for a company. During the first two months, I was trying to find my feet and better understand the way things operated.
The ability to persuade or influence others is a valuable skill to have.
We’re constantly being persuaded in our daily lives through advertising messages, conversations we have or things we’re required to get done. The more persuasive we are, the quicker and easier we can accomplish what we want.
What does it mean to be a persuasive person?
Being a persuasive person means being able to positively affect the thoughts, emotions and actions of another person to accomplish a desired outcome, that’s beneficial to both.
A persuasive person is able to build a picture of a better result or future in the mind’s eye of another person and cause that person to willingly take action to make that result or future a reality.
Some of the characteristics of persuasive people include:
- They’re goal-oriented.
- They’re future or possibility thinkers.
- They tend to show leadership qualities.
- They focused and effective.
- They like getting things done.
The more persuasive we become, the better results we’ll achieve for ourselves and others.
We experience competition in our daily interactions. Being competitive has both benefits and disadvantages.
On the negative side, being competitive can be viewed as being self-centred, aggressive, inflexible and self-absorbed. Those who are competitive because they have to win at all costs often create more stress for themselves and those they interact with.
The origin of the word competition means “to enter or be put in rivalry with.” Competition is part of our lives from sports competition to educational and career competition.
Like most things in life, we can use being competitive to our advantage. We can harness it in a way that will assist us making faster progress towards the outcomes we want.
When I was in my early twenties as a university student, I was extremely competitive at sports. I hated losing and oftentimes, if I believed I could not win at a sport, I would not even participate. To me, winning was the reason why I played sport competitively.
Looking back, that was a very limited way of thinking and wasn’t healthy.