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How to make the right decision in a crisis

Updated on February 8, 2015

Handling a crisis

The first thing to do in any crisis-whether it's a personal, financial, business or a public crisis-is to try to stay calm and rational. Not an easy thing to do for anyone in this situation! To prepare yourself for such an event I suggest imagining the worst case scenarios where you have to respond quickly and must make the right decision the first time.

A good daily practice routine would be to imagine the worst possible thing that can happen and then imagine yourself dealing with this calmly and analytically.
This run through in your mind will hopefully start to prepare you for a real life event by training your mind to try to remain calm and focused..

You most likely will be filled with apprehension or anxiety in a real world crisis.
You should think of the steps I will outline below to help you calm down.
Practice this with different scenarios in your mind, always remembering the goal is to stay calm. If a real crisis occurs, it will be much more difficult than an imaginary one, but at least you will have some slight preparation for it.

To calm yourself down, remember that any crisis- including a life threatening crisis requires rational thought, not just impulsive action. If you are out of control with fear or shock, think for a second- this fear will prevent you from handling this problem and possibly cost you your job, your love or your life. Tell yourself it's time to focus and try to put aside the fear. Make yourself realize this by repeating to yourself "I must focus and remain calm for everyone's sake here"

Once you are calm enough to rationalize your dilemma, then you need to try and assess the situation. Is there a solution to this crisis? Is it possible to stop it or end it? If not, as in say, the event of a large house-fire, what are the options? Identify what actions you can do to alleviate the problem-usually the answer is obvious, but sometimes impossible to do. So then remember, there are always possibilities. If the only answer to solving the crisis is not possible, think outside the box-imagine something that may not seem like the ideal solution but will get the most mileage as a result.

The thing that comes to mind about dealing with impossible crisis scenarios is the old Star Trek movie where the young cadets take the Kobayashi Maru test- a battle simulation with a no-win scenario to see how cadets handle stress and loss, and a test of character. Captain Kirk takes the test 3 times, and not liking to lose, he "thinks outside the box" to beat the test the 3rd time by secretly reprogramming the computer that's creating the simulation- which allows him to win.

This is exactly what I'm talking about-most people taking an actual test like that would try to execute different tactics or battle plans. But Kirk went to the source and defeated the no win scenario by thinking differently and looking at all possible options. That is sometimes what people must do in a real crisis to survive- the rule to remember is to NOT have tunnel vision if a solution seems impossible- keep your mind and options open.

So my suggestions are in this order:

1) stay calm or calm yourself down using the methods I outlined

2) analyze the problem and determine a solution if possible.

3) If there is a solution, what must you do to make it happen? Can you actually do it or make it happen?

4) If you can do it, before attempting the solution go through it in your mind first and visualize the event, how you do it, the stages of the solution you must get through, and the outcome you seek.

5) If a solution is not immediately possible or is impossible, then examine the root of the problem-how can the root, the main cause of the crisis be averted or reduced in severity? If it is not logically found by regular methods, you must think outside the box for some possible solution, or partial solution. If it truly is a no-win scenario, then let your imagination run wild with possibilities and then see if there is a way to make some part of the possibility a reality- just like a "Hail Mary" pass in football.
Again, the root of the problem is what you need to attack or address-not the symptoms or peripherals.

Identifying the root cause of the crisis helps you determine a course of action that will hopefully end the crisis and resolve the issues. Even if the ideas seem impossible..try to visualize several steps that by themselves may not affect the outcome but cumulatively will add up to a desired result for you.

Good luck- remember, stay calm and focus, if all seems hopeless remember.......
Think outside the box!


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