take decisions under pressure

5 Steps for decision making under pressure

Decision making is an integral part of human life. We all take many decision in day to day life. Some decisions are good, some bad; some are small, whereas some big. Few decisions are taken happily, on the contrary some are demanded by the situations.

Do you know how many decision or choices you make in a given day?? Any Guess?? Well keep this number in your memory which has come just now in your mind. I am sure you are going to get surprised by the number of choices or decisions you make daily. Studies suggest that an adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. It is a quite big number. Considering your sleeping and other necessary activities time,  on an average 2500 choices every hour?

Well, as I mentioned earlier some decisions are small whereas some big, depending on that some take less time where in few cases decision making process takes quite a bit of time and requires details. If you notice, you will find many occasions where you get too much pressure while making a decision. That’s life… we are often forced to make our most important decisions under pressure. What should you doin such demanding situations and how to make decisions under pressure?

How to make decisions under pressure?

If you continue to work under constant pressure for longer duration it gets changed in to stress and working under constant stress for longer duration ultimately results in mental health issues.

Try to get rid of this situation just at the first stage only. As soon as the pressure comes, give a pause and whatever is going on in your mind; split that process into a five-step process (steps for decision making under pressure). Four steps will be clear steps for pondering and in the fifth step result of process will have to be executed.

decision making

Before we move ahead towards the process,  you will require a fair bit of understanding about thoughts and thinking. Since most the people get confused in between thoughts and thinking, let us first understand the two.

Difference between thoughts and thinking

Many people feel “thoughts and thinking” are same and use them interchangeably. But the fact is these two are not same.  Let us understand the difference


Thought is a conditioning, which is very different from thinking.  I will share with you an example here

In one study, a researcher tried to understand the behavior of dogs. He rang a bell and started feeding them. The dogs would salivate when they saw food. Since researcher rang a bell every time before feeding the pups, the dogs associated it with the food. Later they began to salivate just by the sound of the bell. So, there is an elementary thought here, which comes, whenever a bell rings.

The first reflex was whenever food is there, salivation occurs. That may have been built in instinctively. The second reaction, which was conditioned, was, whenever the bell rings, salivation must occur.

So these are two stages. The first stage is called reflex, which is built in, a natural characteristic of humans as well as animals. The second stage is conditioning. Something that might not be built in itself, but because of a certain development (learning), it is still a very basic quality of, again, humans as well as (many) animals. According to me thought is nothing more than a form of reflex and conditioning.

So, if you say, whenever this happens, I need to do this or in other words whenever X happens, I need to do Y. Now with that, you don’t have to think. Immediately when X happens, you are already doing Y, right? This is a reflex. Now, that is the nature of thought. And one reflex leads to another.

decision making

Related : Respect your decisions


On the other hand “Thinking” is an active verb, think-ing. It means you are doing something. One thing you do in your decision making process is criticizing your thoughts, seeing whether they cohere. And if they don’t, you begin to change them and experiment with others. It is not predefined and you use your knowledge and experience to analyze a particular situation or thing. You get new intuitions and new insights.

I hope, now the difference between thinking and thoughts is clear to you. These two are the foundation and first two initial steps of the 5 step process of pondering and execution; whenever we make decisions under pressure.

Decision Making Process

The 5 step of decision making process are as under

Step #1 for decision making under pressure

The very first step of any decision making process is thoughts. This is natural. There is an anxiety in this which reflects, a constant worry comes and starts bugging you and sometimes there are regrets.

Step #2 for decision making under pressure

The second step is the thinking. In this; you become aware about you thoughts and start investigating your thoughts. In this step your thoughts have to be criticized, by watching for its coherence. Even if an argument seems logical, it does not always mean it is. You have to become sensitive to coherence and incoherence which is a perceptive process.

Step #3 for decision making under pressure

After crossing the above two phases, contemplation starts. There is a philosophy in it. You had thoughts and thinking; and a lot of analysis based on logics and perspectives. In this stage, all the ifs and buts fights with each other to frame an opinion.

Step #4 for decision making under pressure

You are a little mature and from this place you start giving opinions to yourself and also start consulting others and take their opinion. You listen their opinion and try to imbibe them in your opinion.

Step #5 for decision making under pressure

So thoughts, thinking, contemplation and opinion…..standing away a little bit, seeing these fours steps and after that, brainstorming will be done.

Brainstorm is the hard work that is always done to find a new element.

decision making steps

When brainstorming of these four, you will find a solution saying, “First of all, get yourself free from pressure. Whatever has to happen, that will happen. Keep a fun, broad-mindedness and make a decision with full awareness. Do not stop your hard work and move ahead in life.” This will be the result of brainstorming and from here you will be free from pressure.

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Thank you for reading this. Please add your valuable comments, they are much appreciated.

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  1. I enjoyed the explanation of difference between thinking and thoughts. I agree it is something that gets overlooked.

    1. Yup its generally gets overlooked…. but their is a difference in between thinking and thoughts…. Thanks for comments and appreciation !!!

  2. Great advice. It is always best if people are well in tune with their moral compass. Decision making becomes easier once someone fully understands their personal sense of ethics.

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