A major disruptor to the natural pattern of decision-making is what I term the ‘ticking clock’.
It is the classic ‘weapon of choice’ that people use in many areas of life to force a decision. We have all witnessed this on many occasions:
‘Sale ends Friday; last chance ever to get bargains at this price’
‘The other interested buyer is about to make an offer’
‘The stock price will go through the roof after the next analysts meeting’
The inevitable outcome is that our decision-making becomes compromised. Selling with fear works so well because humans are generally more concerned as to what they might lose than what they might gain. This is the psychology that sales people of every ilk have been tapping into for centuries.
If you succumb to fear-based selling, you might get lucky. However, because your decision-making was compromised, you open yourself up to decision remorse and ruminating about whether you did the right thing. This feeling can be extremely toxic and last for years, handicapping the reflective capacities of your decision-making.
What can you do to serve yourself best when a ticking clock situation arises?
Firstly, pause and try to listen to your whole self. Listen to what your gut tells you (it is rarely wrong) and to your inner ear. If you start to feel muddled by the pressure the other person is putting you under, it becomes harder to access your inner wisdom, where the combination of experience and intuition will steer you in your preferred direction using all of your available capacities.
Ask yourself these questions:
‘Why am I being pressurised for a quick decision?’
‘Whose needs are best being served by this?’
‘Is this the best option?’
‘Are there other options I should be considering?’
‘What would my highest self do under these circumstances?’
This pause gives you the space to see the whole picture prior to making a hasty commitment.
It is common to feel you lose your full range of decision-making capacities under manufactured time pressure; a version of mind freeze, which creates a vacuum for less than scrupulous sales people to fill.
What can help is to instigate the ’24 hour rule’. Tell the person you cannot make an immediate decision and that you will respond the next day.
This delay can greatly improve the quality of your decision-making. So often the other party will change tack once they know you are a calm and rational thinker who will not be bounced into a decision.
Ticking clocks CAN serve you well by forcing you to focus on specific issues and brainstorm scenarios and outcomes.
Be sure that ticking clocks remain a catalyst towards action and a lightening rod towards your continued happiness and prosperity.