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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.

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