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The Two Hacks Bear Uses to Make Good Decisions

You don’t become one of the best-known expeditioners on the planet without superpowers. For Bear Grylls, smart decision-making is at the top of the list. 

“Some of the most extraordinary survival stories I’ve ever heard started with one small, bad decision,” says Bear. The reason might be as unremarkable as being cold, hungry or distracted, but the result is the same: a poor choice in the moment that leads to a really bad outcome. Whether we’re in the throes of a challenging adventure or simply caught up in the churn-and-burn of day-to-day life, we might not eat, drink, or sleep enough, and end up feeling stressed. These are bad times to make decisions. Here’s how to know if you’re in the right frame of mind.

Not Feeling Optimal? Time to HALT

 “When I’m Hungry, Anxious, Low or Tired, I know it’s probably not the best time to decide something important or resolve an argument,” says Bear. After all, few (if any!) of us are at the top of our decision-making game if our stomach is rumbling, if we’re worried or bummed out, or if we’re exhausted and desperately need some Zzzzzs. In these instances Bear recommends you put off the decision (if possible) to when you’re better able to stay focused on your end game and base your choices on your desired outcome, rather than on short-term needs and distractions.  

Try STOP Decision Making

HALT isn’t the only acronym Bear relies on for decision-making guidance. For instance, STOP (his personal take based on a system created by noted psychologist Marsha Linehan) stands for Stop, Take a beat, Observe your surroundings and then come up with a Plan. Big picture, he recommends giving important decisions some space and time, maybe even taking a quick walk or asking a trusted friend for advice, and then coming back to the issue with a fresh point of view. 

Bear is first to admit that even with the best intentions, we can’t totally avoid making bad decisions, at least now and then – instead, the name of the game is to stack the odds in your favor!

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