Three Ways to Increase Your EQ and Make Better Decisions under Stress

decision-making Nov 14, 2022

In the midst of a blackout, a missile was launched. The decision-makers only had a 6-second time window to collect data and determine if it was from an enemy state or being used for military exercises.

The data needed to be coordinated at tactical, operational, and strategic levels within this short timeframe for political decision-makers to act.

This hypothetical scenario highlights the importance of being well-prepared to make high-velocity decisions with the available information, while also being resilient and collaborative. NATO's comprehensive military exercises program is key to mitigating risks and avoiding catastrophic consequences.


Key Characteristics of Effective Decision-Making

The EQ-i 2.0 model tool for decision-making consists of problem-solving, reality testing, and impulse control.

Effective problem-solvers can come up with solutions even when emotions are involved, and those with high levels of problem-solving skills can self-regulate their emotions when challenged with opposing views.

Reality testing involves being objective and recognizing when emotions or biases may impair judgment. Those with high levels of reality testing tend to be objective by nature, but excessive levels can lead to appearing cold and detached.

Impulse control requires resisting impulses, drives, or temptations and delaying responses, making those with high levels of impulse control excellent decision-makers under pressure.

How does this look in practice?

Effective problem-solving is a crucial aspect of decision-making that involves the ability to come up with solutions to problems even when emotions are involved. Understanding how emotions affect the decision-making process is essential when solving problems. Ineffective problem solvers tend to avoid conflicts and allow their emotions to get the best of them, making them appear weak and ineffective when it comes to solving problems.



A person with low problem-solving skills may struggle to identify, analyze, and resolve problems effectively. They may be easily overwhelmed by challenging situations and may have difficulty considering different perspectives or generating alternative solutions. This could lead to impulsive decisions or an inability to address issues constructively.

A person with average problem-solving skills is moderately capable of engaging in the psychological and emotional aspects of conflict resolution and problem-solving. They can analyze problems and generate solutions, but may be more emotionally involved in some cases than in others. Their ability to self-regulate emotions during challenging situations may be inconsistent.

A person with high problem-solving skills excels at identifying, analyzing, and resolving problems effectively. They are excellent at self-regulating their emotions when faced with opposing views or challenging situations. These individuals can consistently generate creative solutions and maintain a balanced emotional state, enabling them to make well-informed decisions even under pressure.

Reality Testing

A person with lower levels of reality testing skills may have difficulty distinguishing between their subjective thoughts and the objective reality. They may be prone to making unrealistic, overly dramatic, or impractical decisions, often influenced by their emotions or biases. This can result in a lack of trust and credibility among their peers or colleagues.

A person with average levels of reality testing skills has a moderate ability to discern between facts and fiction. They can generally recognize when emotions or biases may impair their judgment, but may still occasionally be influenced by them. These people strive for objectivity, but their effectiveness in reality testing can vary depending on the situation.

A person with higher levels of reality testing skills excels at distinguishing between subjective thoughts and objective reality consistently. They are adept at recognizing when emotions or biases may influence their judgment and can successfully maintain objectivity in their decision-making. These individuals are seen as realistic, practical, and trustworthy by their peers and colleagues.


Impulse control



Individuals with lower levels of impulse control may struggle to resist their urges, often acting impulsively without considering the consequences. They may have difficulty managing their emotions, leading to outbursts, impulsive decisions, and potentially harmful behaviors.

Those with average impulse control can generally manage their impulses in most situations. They might occasionally experience difficulties in regulating their emotions and behaviors, but they typically find a balance between acting on impulses and exercising restraint.

People with higher levels of impulse control are excellent at resisting the urge to act impulsively. They can maintain emotional stability and stay composed even in stressful or provocative situations. Their ability to manage their emotions effectively allows them to make thoughtful decisions and avoid unnecessary conflicts or negative outcomes.


Decision-making is a critical aspect of risk management and plays a significant role in protecting over a billion citizens across the transatlantic region. By employing problem-solving, reality testing, and impulse control, individuals and organizations can make effective decisions that mitigate risks and avoid irreversible damage.


Interested in learning more? Schedule a discovery call and learn more about how we can work together to unlock your full potential with EQ.