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Conquering Stress! With Dr. Arlene — Indecision Causes Stress

Posted: Friday, May 13, 2016 – 2:37 PM

By Dr. Arlene Barro

All day long we make decisions. Broccoli, brownies or borscht for lunch? Voting for Clinton, Sanders or Trump on June 7? For those who are highly indecisive, they can become paralyzed when confronted with decisions. Picking lunch or the next president can be equally challenging. It is critical that children learn how to make decisions, as early as possible. If they allow their parents to be the decision-makers, they will become insecure children with low self-esteem. When I see these children as adults, they experience stress and anxiety when faced with simple decisions. I teach them how to make decisions using my Right Fit Method.

Compare Choices to Make Decisions.

When we make a decision asking, who or what is the “best” we assume that the best choice is the right choice. This is not necessarily the case. Here is why: If all the choices are wrong, and we pick one, then we have made the wrong decision which can cause stress. Picture a barrel of rat-infested, rotten apples. If you search for the best and pick one, you still have a disease-ridden apple. Best does not exist. If you believe that there is a best apple in the barrel, you are making an erroneous assumption.

Create blueprints for RIGHT FIT Matches.

The right decisions reduce stress; the wrong decisions raise stress. How can we increase the probability of making the right decisions? I have created the solution. When I was a child growing up in Brookline, Mass., my father planted the seeds for the creation of the Right Fit Method. He taught me how to understand with whom I am dealing, figure out Right Fits, and set high standards. Notably, he showed me how to create a blueprint of the Right Fit Banana which contained standards and criteria. If the bananas were brownish and overripe, they were Wrong Fits. Sometimes we bought nothing, if we could not find the Right Fit Banana to match the blueprint. Today, I still use the same blueprint to buy bananas. I highly recommend creating blueprints to make decisions for both your professional and personal life. Right Fit matches eliminate indecision and stress.

What happens when an erroneous assumption becomes a blueprint?

In my April 1 column: Erroneous Assumptions Cause Stress, I invited readers to email their erroneous assumption tales. Ned Hepner, a highly successful entrepreneur, recalls the consequences of an erroneous assumption he made as an employee which caused stress and anxiety.

Erroneous Assumption: “That every person is, like you were yourself, eager for personal growth: to earn more money, advance your career, and gain greater opportunity.”

Impact of erroneous assumption: “I managed a large bank department, including secretaries, clerks, analysts, and supervisors. For my part, I began as an analyst and worked purposefully over the years to reach my present position as vice president and department manager… When I became the department manager, I shared my experience with staff whom I believed would benefit… The effort, in large part, failed… [Due to] the pressure that I put on them by my insistence not only impaired their performance but also caused both them and me undue stress and anxiety. Most people, if they are fully employed and earning a living, are happy with what they have … even if [working harder] means more money and a higher job title. Be careful whom you try to help. Know them well before you even begin. You may be doing, to them and you, more harm than good.” —Ned Hepner

The erroneous assumption that Hepner made became his Right Fit blueprint which turned out to be the Wrong Fit. He wanted his employees to match the image of himself. He assumed that they wanted the success that he did. If he had assessed the employees’ passion for success prior to implementing his plan, it is highly unlikely that he would have proceeded. Stress and anxiety could have been prevented.

How do you make decisions? Share an important decision that you made that turned out to be wrong. Be sure to include how you made the decision and the impact. Your story may appear in my next column. Email your response to

Dr. Arlene Barro is the creator of the Right Fit Method, a UCLA-Trained behavioral educational psychologist who holds a master’s and a Ph.D. with distinction for her doctoral dissertation on creativity. She is the author of WIN Without Competing!, talk show host, motivational speaker, consultant and CEO. Dr. Arlene’s company, barro global search, inc., is situated on Wilshire Boulevard.

One response to “Conquering Stress! With Dr. Arlene — Indecision Causes Stress”

  1. Ned’s erroneous assumption delivers a universal message. Yes, be careful when we try to help people and “know them well before we even begin” is a message that can be applied in a variety of settings. For example, teachers knowing their students; speakers knowing their audience. I have had to learn that in my training work as well. It’s easy to develop a faulty blueprint based on an erroneous assumption, and that helps no one!

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