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  • Brad Camp

Feeling Forced to Make a Decision? Cue These 5 Words

The best decisions are often made slowly and thoughtfully.

We are hardwired with numerous “click-run” programs that often hijack our brains, triggering natural instincts. These instincts leave us vulnerable by triggering the 'fight or flight' response or a stress reaction that has evolved as a survival mechanism. But let's be real. In our modern world, most of the decisions we make are not threatening our livelihood. So how do we break the cycle?

I've found the key is self-awareness or simply knowing this is my natural instinct. By naming the problem, it allows me to evade my natural program and demand a period of "marination" before acting.

But potentially just as important, what should you do when there's no other choice than to make a critical decision spontaneously? I never expected the answer to come from our doula as we prepared for the birth of our first child. Labor itself is spontaneous. Yes, you have a general idea of when it may happen, but it rarely occurs on schedule. 

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. ~ Mike Tyson

That's why doulas and midwives tell their expecting parents to use their BRAIN during pregnancy. BRAIN is an acronym for the five steps to an informed decision-making process:

B - What are the Benefits?

R - What are the Risks?

A - What are the Alternatives?

I - What does your Intuition tell you?

N - What if you do Nothing?

The next time you feel forced to make an on-the-fly decision, consider waiting. That forced feeling may be a click-run program or 'fight or flight' kicking in. But if you absolutely can't avoid it, use your BRAIN. If you're like me, you'll be surprised at how often doing nothing is the best decision.

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