How prepared can you be for stressful situations?

In his Ted Talk, Daniel Levitin wants to address how people are oftentimes unprepared for the stressful situations that will happen in their lives. Firstly, he brings up when people are under stress, their brains dump cortisol into the body. Cortisol had more of a purpose throughout our evolutionary journey, however in today’s world, it can leave us with a foggy mind and inability to make the best decisions.

To combat this, Levitin utilizes a concept he learned called prospective hindsight that originated from Harvard psychologist Gary Klein. Within prospective hindsight, individuals engage in what is called a ‘pre-mortem’, where one looks ahead to try to figure out what could go wrong, and then how to prevent and minimize the damage.

Levitin uses this technique in both large and small stressful situations in his life. It has helped him misplace easily lost objects in his home, and also is utilized to think about what he would do in a hypothetical medical emergency in the future.

If you chose to implement prospective hindsight into your own life, what you are able to do is create emergency plans when you are clear-minded. Obviously, you may want to change your plan in the heat of the moment, but the creation of a pre-mortem helps prepare you to think of what you want the most when your body is under less stress.

As coaches, working on helping your clients plan for possible future stressful situations, can allow for these hurdles to be much less debilitating should they occur.

You can view the full Ted Talk here

IOC's Tips of the Week are authored by Austin Matzelle