Hot Topics     Home and Family    

What's your Decision Altitude?

Don't miss out by being indecisive

Don't miss out by being indecisive

Skydivers have a bunch of interesting traditions. Specific fist-bumps before exiting the plane to keep us safe. Being hit by a pie after your 100th jump. But one of them is deadly serious. It's called "decision altitude."

When you open your parachute, everything should be fine. But occasionally, it's not. Then, you have two choices: Try and fix the problem, or cut your parachute away and open up your reserve. The problem is, skydivers could get fixated on fixing their problem, and if they can't fix it before they hit the ground, well, you can figure out why that's not good.

That's where decision altitude comes in. My decision altitude is the altitude at which I cut my parachute away and deploy my reserve, regardless of how close I am to fixing the problem. I don't care if it's just one more line twist I have to fix before everything's perfect, if I hit 2,000 feet and my parachute isn't flying perfectly, I cut away and open my reserve, end of discussion. I'd rather figure out the problem when I land, then spend my last five seconds alive trying to untie a knot.

You should be applying the same concept to every important decision you make in your life. Let's face it: The majority of decisions we regret in our lives come not from a decision we made, but from not making any decision at all, and missing out on the opportunity to act. How many times have you said "yeah, I knew about that stock... Investment... Concert ticket... But I didn't act in time."

There's nothing wrong with making a bad decision and losing out on something. At least you'll learn from it. BUT - Losing out because you didn't make any decision at all? You learn nothing from that, and that's the real tragedy..

Stay safe, and respect your decision altitude,


Peter Shankman is an entrepreneur, an author and a trainer living in New York City. He is a stay at home dad as well. Read more of his blogs here.

Other articles by Peter Shankman

  • Four years ago today

    Meet your challenges and come out stronger

    March 12th, 2020 was a clear Thursday morning in NYC. I'd woken up super early, having been invited to the media launch of the new Peloton studios in NYC. Getting there and touring the facility with about 40 other reporters and media, we took the first ever class in the studio, taught by Robin Arzon. It started at 8am, and we were all sweating heavily and breathing all over each other. 45 minutes later it ended, and we walked out, high-fiving and taking selfies. read more »
  • "Perhaps it's my destiny to be fat..."

    Peter Shankman shares his epiphany

    I went to the doctor late last week for my physical. I had to stand on one of those demon scales, the ones that send electrical impulses up your body to measure your body fat. I'd rather put out a campfire with my face than have to stand on that scale, but there I was. read more »
  • Avoidance feeds anxiety

    Motivational speaker Peter Shankman gives us some advice

    Take some action today, and kill some anxiety. Trust me. You'll be glad you did. read more »
  • They're already looking...

    Embrace who you really are

    Only when you embrace who you really are, can the magic really happen. Remember: Weird is simply a side effect of awesome. Never, ever forget that. read more »
  • Go out and make some happiness today

    Happy Wednesday morning from NYC, where the sun is shining and the skies are blue! One quick thought for you today that might prove helpful. read more »
  • How to slow that Ferrari brain we've all got inside our heads

    So of course, 2am this morning found me and my race car brain unable to sleep, focusing on everything I had upcoming over the next five days. Since I was already up, I got on the bike, and while riding, dictated ten ways for you to slow down your brain and decrease your anxiety, so you don't find yourself on the Peloton at 2am tomorrow morning, too. Here we go. read more »
  • The value of your time = The value of your mental health

    What is your time worth to you?

    Your mental health and your time are closely related. If you're constantly running around complaining that you don't have enough time, that has a negative effect on every aspect of your life. If there's an easy way to fix that, I can't imagine anything in the world more worth the spending of a few extra dollars. read more »
  • I turn 50 tomorrow

    Here's my birthday wish for you

    (If we've been communicating for longer than a year, you've received this before. But that said, it's good to reread. It's good for all of us to reread every once in a while. (And I added a new one at #10.)) read more »
  • What to do When You're Having "One of those Weeks"...

    Just breathe and realize you can't control everything

    Ever have a truly horrible week, where within the first 12 hours, you know it's not going to get any better? Yeah. That's me this week. read more »
  • Lessons from the African Plains

    You don't know your own power until you use it

    We don't know how strong we are until we're called on to be that strong. We don't know our power until we stand up to a bully, until we stop caring what others think of us, until we demand better service, until we raise our prices, until we stop allowing ourselves to be taken advantage of. read more »