After the Rams’ loss, Tom Brady issued an important reminder: Never make a permanent decision based on a fleeting emotion.
Tom Brady was devastated.
Brady, the winningest quarterback in NFL history, is best known for his ability to lead a team to victory despite seemingly insurmountable odds. And for a brief moment in yesterday’s divisional playoff between the Rams and the Bucs, it appeared he was on the verge of doing the same, after Brady rallied the Bucs from a 27-3 deficit to tie the game in the final minute.
Alas. It was not meant to be this time. As Brady stood for the postgame press conference, reporters seemed to keep asking the same question: Are you coming back?
“I haven’t given it much thought,” Brady replied. “We’ll just take it one day at a time.”
The media reacted angrily. Brady has to have thought about it. It’d be impossible not to, wouldn’t it?
“Truthfully, guys,” Brady said, “I’m thinking about this game.” “And I’m not thinking about anything beyond the next five minutes.”
This may appear to be a simple case of Brady refusing to discuss leaving the game he adores, but there’s more to it:
It’s an example of a simple decision-making rule, and it teaches an important lesson in emotional intelligence.
What is the basic decision-making rule, and how can you use it to help you and your business? The simple rule of decision-making is based on a small bit of wisdom I came across years ago, and it can help when it comes time to make challenging decisions:
This rule is based on emotional intelligence principles, or the ability to understand and manage emotions, because it takes advantage of what we know about the brain and how we make decisions.
Neuroscientists and psychologists have been studying the biology of the brain and its decision-making processes for many years. As a result, it became clear that our way of thinking, reasoning, and deciding is extremely complex, requiring the use of multiple parts of the brain.
For example, when it comes to higher level executive functions such as planning and organizing, we rely heavily on the frontal lobes, which are the largest part of our brain. When we are threatened or under high stress, however, another, much smaller part of the brain known as the amygdala kicks into high gear.
This can be beneficial because the amygdala can assist us in making quick decisions that help us deal with potentially dangerous situations. In Brady’s case, for example, the amygdala may assist the quarterback in achieving focus and executing actions he has practiced on the football field numerous times.
However, you should not rely on the amygdala to make longer-term decisions, such as whether or not to quit your job.
That’s why Brady’s reaction is so emotionally astute. Brady refuses to allow reporters to coerce him into saying something he may later regret by implying that such a decision requires careful consideration.
Instead, he simply states that such inquiries are inappropriate at this time. This allows him to wait, allowing his emotions to settle, and using more of his frontal lobe to make that decision, allowing him to organize his thoughts and carefully consider all factors involved.
So, the next time you’re faced with a major decision in a difficult situation, remember Tom Brady’s simple rule of decision-making: Never make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion.