Life’s most embarrassing, guilty or shameful moments have one thing in common: reactions regretted.
Instead of intelligently and consciously responding to any situation, we find ourselves down the path of all too familiar reactions that have consequences all their own. The original issue that stimulated the reaction gets lost or confused. The reactor becomes the perpetrator. Nothing can then be solved easily.
These seemingly hard-wired reactions are unconscious. There is a great model that describes how we build competency to navigate through life every moment. This model helps explain how we can become proficient at doing highly complex tasks with ease. Remember when you had to learn to drive a car? It is a little scary how much the driver must actually do to safely manage the normal driving task, let alone should there be an emergency. We were all admittedly incompetent at the driving task on day number one. We knew we didn’t know how to drive. With education and practice, our competency grew. As we got better and better, we seemingly didn’t have to pay attention to as much as before. Actually, we became unconsciously competent at the task of driving. Our mind manages the tasks without conscious intervention.
The idea then is to become conscious that your reactions to any give situation are in the unconscious zone. But, a chosen response moves your action into the conscious zone of this chart. It will take maybe a second or two longer to choose rather than react. It is worth the “wait”.
That pause for choice enables your higher intelligence to engage. You can override a reaction that is judged inappropriate, inflammatory, shameful, or any other negative of a long list of the source of many regrets or guilty feelings.
The time it will take to reverse the damage done — to correct the reaction and caused regret or shame — is so much greater than this short pause. So, ask yourself why not start right now? To start, insert the Pause for Choice into any situation where you are feeling anger or fear. See how much better your choices can be. As you become more confident in the pause you will find yourself unconsciously and competently inserting pauses in your conversations all day long.
Can you imagine how much more kind and thoughtful your world can be?
Here are a few ideas to help you insert the pause:
- Ask your trusted friends to help catch you reacting… remember you gave them permission so don’t get mad at them for pointed out your reactions!
- While speaking, pay attention to your heartbeat… increased heart rate is a sign of reacting. Take a breath to reduce the pressure building up.
- Watch Prince Ea’s YouTube video “One thing you should always remember about life” to be able to see the bigger picture.
- When someone around you is angry, don’t let fear or your own anger take control. See how they could you a pause!
- Recall a time when your reactions created a bigger problem, a backlash or unnecessary pain for others…then make amends for what you could have handled better.
Let’s get the “Pause for Choice” movement going!
Share your ideas for how to Pause for Choice so that everyone can get a grip, start working together, or at least agree to disagree peacefully. Spread #pauseforchoice.
~ Coach Lane Michel