4-Steps My Millionaire Mentor Taught Me To Make Big Decisions

I have 2 mentors in my life. One of them has a net worth of about $27 million. 

He asked me a question recently as we were discussing a big decision I had to make.

Him: "Have you ever done something serious you ended up regretting?"

Me: "Obviously. Have you met me?"

Him: "What's your process for making big decisions?"

Me: "Process? I don't know. Lose sleep thinking about it. Eat comfort foods like Skittles and ice cream. Think of every possible variable until my mind is numb. The usual."

Him: "Sounds about right for you since you're an emotional guy. I know you use logic a lot, but EVERY decision we make, is impacted by our emotions. There's no such thing as a purely logical decision in humans. But we can reduce the emotions involved with a process and remove emotional anchors that can cloud our judgement."

Me: "Damn. Sounds good to me. What is it?"

He then gave me some context and details that I'll now share with you.

Emotions Can't Be Beat...But They Can Be Minimized

 So we want to reduce our emotions and certain types of emotions when making big decisions.

However, a surprising thing is that it doesn't matter the primary emotion you are feeling as much as the LEVEL of emotion you have.

That's why we often call decisions we made hastily "mistakes".

If you are euphorically happy about going to a sporting event, you're going to be willing to overpay for a ticket just to get in. 

On the opposing side, if you are filled with a raging anger, you could be driven to something so irrational, future you would have a hard time believing how you decided to go full-Carrie Underwood on the guy's truck by digging your keys into the side of his truck. 

You can have those same emotions and NOT do those things if they are lessened. 

Brain vs. Heart

I'm writing this from a position of authority on the topic having made five mistakes in my life so huge, that I still remember them to this day.

I was incredibly mature and emotional growing up. While I still feel deep undercurrents of emotion, I've learned to control them better.

I learned from people I respect and read about the psychology and biology around decision-making. 

Did you know when you are in a strong emotional state from fighting with your lover or losing money on a bad stock trade, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain and heart to go back to normal functioning levels?

Taking some time to "cool off" is actually scientifically backed. When you are "flooding" (that's the sciencey term), your body goes into fight-or-flight mode.

Stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol surge through your body and decrease activity in the part of your brain that controls executive function.

Translation: you do stupid things when you're emotional because your body is in control, not your brain.

How else could you explain two people making out in a disguisting bathroom stall at a concert?

World-renowned relationship researcher, John Gottman, has found the average person needs 20 minutes for their body to reset after it becomes flooded. Walking away and removing yourself from the situation can prevent regrets later.

Like I said, taking a "chill pill" works. Not an actual pill, just the expression.

The 4-Step Framework

So, thanks to my mentor here's my new extraordinary process I use for big decisions. 

1. Rest

When I say this, I don't mean take a nap. I mean get EXTRA rested. Get that deep-baby sleep. Take a hot bath before bed. Have some chamomile tea or red wine. Pop a sleeping pill. Whatever you need to do to get the best sleep you've had in months or even years, make it happen.

2. Relax

Next morning, wake up and eat a good meal. Go full out comfort food if you need to. Between this and sleep, two of your most important biological needs are now checked off.

Then, up the ante and do whatever you need to really decompress. Get a massage. Read a few chapters in a fictional book. Have sex. Meditate for 20 minutes. Get your body and mind in a rested place however you do it.

3. Retreat

This is very important but most people don't do this. You need to take the day off from work or block out your weekend. Do not rush yourself. You need space to think and feel (at appropriate levels).

Also, you have to remove yourself from your regular environment. We have anchors and comforts where we do life that will prevent us from clearing our mind.

Go to a park or the beach or a restaurant you have never been to. Stay at a hotel. Do a getaway. Walk to a part of your city you never go to.

Changing your environment changes your thinking. For life-altering decisions, you need that to have a fresh perspective on what your life could be like dependent on what you choose.

4. Reframe

This is a mental trick (and a practice that's good for the soul) that has helped me incredibly. Think about your existing life as it is now and practice extreme contentment.

Literally count your blessings. Doing this will put you in state of mind that will let you see how good you actually have it. This reduces the feelings of desperation that may come with wanting to decide to get in that relationship, take the job in that new city, or selling all of your stuff off to go travel the world for 4 months.

This has actually impacted my financial journey tremoundously. Deciding to open businesses, where to invest large sums of money and whether or not to build a new home in the middle of a recession are all huge decisions I've had to make in the past 18 months!

This process has helped me reduce strong emotions and I can gladly say that by following this process and getting good data inputs from sources and people I trust, I am thrilled with each decision that I made.

Zero regrets so far!

I hope this helps you as consider big decisions coming up in your life. Whether they be centered around love, life or money, I hope it serves as a resource!

If you know anyone considering some huge life decision and think this would help, be sure to share it with them if you believe it would help.

Until our paths cross again...  

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