“I am always wary of decisions made hastily. I am always wary of the first decision, that is, the first thing that comes to my mind… This is usually the wrong thing. Pope Francis
“Count to ten.”
For people my age, as kids facing a knee-jerk reaction, we were always told to “count to ten,” then consider our response. For my son, since he was about four-years-old, whenever he wanted some new or inviting item, he wanted it now! Pam and I frequently repeated the phrase, “Patience, son. Patience.”
Impatience: More Common Than We Like
But we are impatient people, are we not? This is especially true whenever we come upon a “great idea” or a “great new thing.” Our emotional need meter jumps to 10, sending signals for us to jump as well, right along with the meter. The “need meter” explodes whenever we go shopping at our favorite stores from Costco to Automobile Dealers. “Wow! Look at that,” we think, “I just have to own it. And… look at the “deal” I can get!”
I am such an impulsive person. There are so many times I have made an emotionally based decision only to deeply regret it, sometimes only minutes later.
And what about emails? How many emotionally charged emails have you sent after receiving a note that set you off? Yikes. We are all so guilty.
I think the problem is largely based on emotionally based decisions, either from excitement or anger. Both are enemies of the state… of mind! With little regard for rational and thoughtful actions, we may dive into some tirade, spend a boatload of money, or try to convince people of our new fangled inspiration.
What can we do about this embarrassing, humiliating and definitively dangerous preoccupation with making decisions on first impulse? Although I’m sure entire books, or least lengthy chapters, are written on this let me suggest three simple recommendations:
- Delay: You know, may be there was something to “Count to Ten.” Except for me it is more like delaying 2 to 24 hours, depending on genuine urgency. If it’s about a car, that vehicle (or one just as good) will still be there tomorrow… no matter what the sales person tells you. And anytime someone tells you “this price is only good right now,” I have learned that signals a definite time to walk away.
- Deliberate: When moved to make a decision of any significance based on my inner emotional monkey, it is certainly time to consider the data, analyze the options, and then deliberate on the possibilities. I like to ponder. I like to make lists of attributes, impacts, and real need as opposed to emotional need. Many are the times I have come to saner conclusions after thoughtful deliberation,
- Seek Direction: My wife is my best counselor when I am faced with a driving desire to make an impulsive decision, or especially sending a disparaging email. I have come to realize that I NEVER send an angry email without having her review it first. Wow. A life saver.
Yes, sometimes or maybe most times, waiting is more productive than acting!
If You Feel It MUST Be Done NOW
Perhaps That Is a Signal to Delay
Photo courtesy of SIphotography at istockphoto