Ever had to give a presentation but forgot your cheat sheets? Missed an important meeting because you still had to install Skype? Stress! And when we come into such stressful situations, we often have no idea what to do, because we can no longer think clearly.
That we make more mistakes in stressful situations can also be explained logically, Daniel Levitin explains in his TED Talk. When we experience stress, our body makes more of the stress hormone cortisol. That helps you survive, but it makes it harder for you to think rationally .
Fortunately, Levitin also has a solution to make the right decisions in stressful situations. And that is actually very simple: a smart girl is prepared for her future. He only expresses it differently, because he does not speak Dutch and is a neuroscientist.
The speaker therefore calls it the ‘pre-mortem’. The post-mortem is the investigation that experts carry out after a disaster to investigate where it went wrong, but the pre-mortem is the opposite. You examine which stressful situations you can end up in and what can go wrong in them, and then see what you can do to prevent that (or make it worse). “The trick is to think in advance what your mistakes could be.”
Daniel Levitins TED Talk about stressful situations
In some cases that is very simple. Levitin, for example, gives a tip to take a photo of your credit cards, passport and driver’s license, and e- mail it to yourself . And to give things that you lose quickly, a special place in your home. That helps our brain to remember where those things are.
Sounds logical, but many people regularly lose their keys, and that happens less quickly if you make a hook next door. Oh, and always place your glasses on the appropriate table / desk / chair (not recommended).
In other situations it is more difficult – but if you just regularly check what could go wrong in certain stressful situations, you are well on your way to making fewer mistakes that you will regret later.
And of course, you can’t be prepared for anything. Sometimes you just have to forget your keys once and have your father drive through half the country to bring your spare keys (sorry dad), to learn that you should always check if your keys are where they should be. Or miss your plane and buy a new ticket (sorry bank account) to always leave home on time. But you can prepare many things, and that saves you a lot of stressful situations.
You watch the entire TED Talk by Daniel Levitin in the video below: