I think I am smart. Actually, I know I am smart, and I bet most of you think (and justly so) that you are also smart. Am I right?
If you are reading this, I agree with you- YOU. ARE. SMART (Isn’t this statement a wonderful way to start your week?!). And yet, we keep on making the same mistakes (over and over) along the way.
I remember an individual in my previous work with whom I had difficulty getting along with. We seemed to bumped heads constantly. When we had a conflict I felt the immediate and constant need to defend myself by sending numerous emails explaining my position (not to mention how upset I was when I got home). I wanted him to see and validate how smart..and right I was.
This was not to my advantage. I needed an intervention!
We know that acting in a certain way is not to our advantage, yet before we realize it, we just “did it again!” (ok- if you must dance to Britney’s song “oops I did it again, go for it. I am not judging you!)
And now, after you have taken this short break and have returned to this newsletter…l ask again–why do we resort to doing what we know is not good for us, what is not going to get us the results we want? Why do we respond not to our advantage?
Here is a simple yet powerful answer:
Because….our minds are programmed to do it. Through past behaviors, we learned to respond with ___ ( you fill in the blank. short tempered, anger, put-down, defensiveness, avoidance, ridicule, judgment, fear, uncertainty..).
This is our to-go action.
So, can we and how do we fix/change it?
Here is an easy and profound step. A step so often overlooked.
Ready to hear it?
Yes- I am serious! It is this simple.
We don’t have to jump in with an answer or a response right away. We can just pause.
They know we are smart. They know we can speak (or write an email). They have heard us (or have seen it) before.
And by they, I am referring to your team at work or to loved ones at home.
Pause and focus. Focus on your breath, focus intently on what you see, what you hear. Rub your hands together in a very intentional way so you can feel the sensation of your skin. Play mindfully with beads. I remember going to a Middle Eastern market in Israel where I saw older individuals rubbing chains of beads while playing the famous game of backgammon. I did not understand it then, and now, I am thinking; could it possibly be for this reason? To pause and reflect..?
By doing this they were leaning to what is known in Positive Intelligence as the Page Powers, the place that when tapped into, provide us the opportunity to choose the preferable thought/action/feeling to engage, allow us the opportunity to cool off. That place in the brain is the opposite from the survival side of our brain we so often use.
Pausing and breathing allows us to lean into the right side of our brain, the place where curiosity, compassion, happiness, resourcefulness reside.
Pausing and focusing on a physical sensation creates new neural pathways in our brains. It interferes with our brain waves that make our reactions automatic.
We are given a chance to create a new reaction.
And we don’t have to pause forever. A minimum of 10 seconds will light up the areas on our brains that can make a huge difference.
Do you have 10 seconds? I bet you do.
Are you seeking a challenge today? With your team at work and when you communicate with your family at home:
When you hear something that makes you jump up with a need to explain, argue, defend, protect, etc. can you choose to pause and navigate your brain by breathing and focus on a different physical sensation?
The more often you present yourself with these opportunities to practice, the more your brain will lean into making better choices, which leads of course to better decisions and a happier self. This practice when practiced overtime will inevitably increase your listening skills. Listening to words spoken, as well as feelings that are shared.
In other words, engaging in this simple action will bring your champion within out and into the light!
Are you up for this? If you are- You will be the main beneficiary of this secret!
If you want to converse more about Positive Intelligence and the work I do to create team effectiveness by improving interpersonal relationship and thus engage in healthy conflicts, let’s talk!
Be Yourself, Be Positive, Be the Champion you want to see!