You’re not at your best when you’re stressed. 

In fact, your brain has evolved over millennia to release cortisol in stressful situations, inhibiting rational, logical thinking — but potentially helping you survive, say, being attacked by a lion. 

Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin thinks there’s a way to avoid making critical mistakes in stressful situations when your thinking becomes clouded — the pre-mortem.

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“We all are going to fail now and then,” he says. “The idea is to think ahead to what those failures might be.”