Christopher Thompson's Closing the Deal: Never make decisions based on emotion
Recent weeks have been full of emotion for everyone. On Dec. 14, a deranged lunatic whose name is not worthy of the space in this column massacred 20 children and six school faculty at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He also took the life of his own mother and did the world a favor by doing the same to himself.
As the news broke, shock and disgust rippled through the minds of everyone who was hearing about it for the first time. Personally, I couldn't believe it. I thought for sure there had to be some information that was inaccurate. I was hoping the carnage wasn't as horrific as they described. But unfortunately, it was. Like you, I haven't stopped thinking about the victims and their families since it happened.
Today is the first time I have spoken about this tragedy in a public forum. The majority of people immediately took to social media outlets to express their thoughts and emotions. Over the last week, the majority of posts and updates I have seen on Facebook have been related to this horrible situation. I chose to refrain from commenting about this tragedy until more information was announced. Right or wrong, it's what I chose to do.
I chose not to comment for one main reason. Very early in my career, I learned one of the most valuable lessons in both life and business. Never make decisions based on emotion. It's something I live by and do my best to always remember. I've certainly slipped a few times, but whenever emotions are flaring, I make it a point to not make any major decisions. And I always try to keep my mouth closed, as that has caused me problems in the past.
As a result of this tragedy, emotions are high. People are appalled. People are panicking. People are demanding immediate action to prevent similar acts. People are tossing around ideas on how to stop mass shootings. From arming teachers to adding police to every school, there are a lot of ideas being discussed. And unfortunately, all of the ideas are based on emotion. Let me give you a few examples.
Almost immediately after the incident, you began to hear demands for stricter gun control laws. President Obama alluded to this in a speech five days after the tragedy took place. And it's getting worse. It's one of the hottest topics and almost everyone has a strong opinion about it.
The second example of making decisions based on emotion is a direct result of all the gun control talk. People are flooding gun shops in New Hampshire and buying weapons they fear will be banned in the near future.
I stopped by the recently opened Shooter's Outpost in Hooksett last night to browse around. What I saw was unbelievable. There wasn't one weapon that resembled an assault rifle in stock. The gun racks were empty. The fear and emotion has caused people to panic and purchase as much ammunition and weapons as they are able to.
From a business perspective, it's an interesting trend to watch. Firearms manufacturers are forced to make decisions with the uncertainty of what will happen to their industry in the future. There's no doubt there will be turmoil and changes that could have a negative impact on their business. For firearms dealers, business is booming right now and, based on the uncertainty, it's likely to continue.
Emotion is something we all feel. But making decisions, comments and acting based on how we feel at the moment is a dangerous thing. Regardless of what you believe needs to happen as a result of the Newtown tragedy, know that it will likely be a result of emotion we are all feeling right now. Making decisions based on emotion rarely leads to the right solution.
It's my hope that people pause, take a step back and let their emotions subside before they act. It's important not only in business, but also in our personal lives.
Christopher Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.