The Power of Emotions in Decision-Making and Building Personal Moats

Tara H

Hatched by Tara H

Sep 09, 2023

3 min read


The Power of Emotions in Decision-Making and Building Personal Moats


Making decisions can be a complex process influenced by various factors, including our emotions. Contrary to popular belief, emotions are not the enemy of good decision-making. In fact, they can provide valuable insights and guidance if we learn to navigate them effectively. Additionally, building personal moats, or unique competitive advantages, can greatly enhance our careers and personal growth. In this article, we will explore the connection between emotions and decision-making, as well as the concept of personal moats and how to cultivate them.

Emotions and Decision-Making:

When faced with a significant decision, it is crucial to identify the dominant emotion we are feeling. This emotion can range from fear and anxiety to excitement and anticipation. Understanding our emotions allows us to create a space between them and our actions, enabling us to examine them objectively. By acknowledging and naming our feelings, we prevent them from overpowering our conscious thought and agency.

After examining our initial decision and the emotional bookends surrounding it, it is essential to ensure we have correctly identified the decision at hand. Emotional bookending helps us name and tolerate our emotions, enabling us to make the real decision that aligns with our goals and aspirations. This process allows us to move forward with clarity and confidence, knowing that our emotions have played a role in our decision-making without controlling it entirely.

Building Personal Moats:

A personal moat refers to a set of unique and accumulating competitive advantages that contribute to our career success. These advantages should be difficult to learn and replicate, while also being aligned with our talents and interests. To identify our personal moats, it can be helpful to seek feedback from others. Asking what comes naturally to us but is challenging for others can shed light on our unique skills and abilities. Additionally, considering what we possess that is difficult for people to reverse engineer can further refine our understanding of our personal moats.

Another concept that aligns with building personal moats is Ikigai, which represents the intersection of what we love, what we are good at, and what the world needs. By finding this sweet spot, we can create a foundation for our personal moats. It is important to note that personal moats are not easily replicable or widespread. If a skill or expertise can be easily learned or replicated by others, it may not serve as a durable or unique personal moat.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Identify your dominant emotion: When faced with a decision, take a moment to identify the primary emotion you are experiencing. This will help create space between your emotions and actions, allowing for a more objective examination of the situation.
  • 2. Seek feedback and identify your personal moats: Ask others what comes naturally to you but is challenging for them. This feedback can provide insights into your unique skills and talents. Additionally, consider what sets you apart and is difficult for others to replicate. These factors contribute to your personal moats.
  • 3. Cultivate your personal moats: Once you have identified your personal moats, focus on honing and developing them. Become so skilled in your unique abilities that others cannot ignore you. Use your personal moats as leverage to accrue social and financial capital, leading to further growth and success.


Emotions are not the enemy of good decision-making. By acknowledging and understanding our emotions, we can make more informed choices that align with our goals and aspirations. Additionally, building personal moats by identifying and developing our unique competitive advantages can greatly enhance our careers and personal growth. By following the actionable advice provided, we can navigate our emotions effectively and cultivate our personal moats, paving the way for success and fulfillment.

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