Navy SEAL Shares His ‘1-Second Rule’ to Make Exponentially Better Decisions Under Pressure

Illustration: Getty Images.

How to quickly make the right choice with complete confidence.

We often hear about ways to engage. To engage employees, colleagues, potential business partners, and potential life partners.

As a means to connect, we attempt to engage. And not just to the people around us but to the decisions that surround us (and sometimes consume us).

In an effort to engage, we “zero in,” “set our sights,” and become “laser-focused.” We chase the proverbial rabbit deep into the forest, losing our way along the way.

As they say, “you can’t see the forest for the trees,” and you surely can’t see much of anything from the depths of a dark rabbit hole.

Well, unless you’re a rabbit.

According to neuroscientist Andrew Huberman (the founder and host of the Huberman Lab) and Navy SEAL Jocko Willink, the simple solution to making exponentially better decisions that lead to a more fulfilling life lies within detachment. During an interview on the Huberman Lab podcast, Willink shared his very simple strategy to detach and make better decisions in no time: the one-second rule.

And no, it has nothing to do with how long food can safely sit on the floor before it is deemed tainted.

Your vantage point determines what you see — and what you don’t

The more entrenched we become in trying to engage, the more disconnected we can become from the bigger picture. The result is a vantage point with a limited field of vision. And with such poor optics, the vantage point serves in fact as a point of disadvantage.

We often make decisions based on our field of vision, but we do so from a narrow perspective. What this means is that it might be time to stop “leaning in” and lean back instead.

When we’re wrapped up in something, it becomes our world and we see it as much bigger than it really is. Because of that, we don’t realize that there’s a whole lot more to the picture than what we can see.

In other words, take a splaceholdertep back to get a vantage point that gives you the panoramic picture. In doing so, we can gain a more realistic perspective that gives us the insight we need to make the best decision possible.

What we focus on dictates our decisions

One of the most common reasons for making bad decisions is the tendency to focus on the wrong things.

For the millions of us who work full-time, that inherently means that our minds become most engrossed in — and attached to — work. We end up caring too much about the things that, in reality, mean very little. We become consumed by a project at work that isn’t going to plan, the colleague who took credit for your work, the investor who passed on your project.

In turn, we become stressed, anxiety-ridden, and burnt out.

The worst part is, for many of us, it’s not the things that light our fires that burn us out — it’s the things we have little interest in but that we put too much energy into that leave us drained.

Conversely, to feel fulfilled, we need to focus on the things that matter most to us and take a step back to get the full picture in the face of any decision.

Take one second to take one step back (or one deep breath in)

Willink says that before making a decision he takes one deep breath. In doing so, he effectively detaches from the situation, which gives him the opportunity to gain complete clarity about the decision in front of him.

While most of us are not trained to make split-second, life-or-death decisions, that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn to make exponentially better decisions on the fly and under immense pressure.

Though we may not be in combat, we all have our own battles to face. And when the decisions we make dictate the direction of our life, taking one second could make all the difference when it comes to winning the war. Or better yet, collecting the wins throughout life that create the life we want.