I understand that life can get busy and hectic sometimes. And inevitably, there would always be someone somewhere that may get on your nerves. Perhaps a co-worker would always interrupt you at these high-level meetings. Or perhaps your loved one or your good friend would annoy you to no end.
And the initial impulse is to lash out or react in an emotional way. To show them who’s the “real boss”. Or to show them the real “truth” and the whole truth. To show that they’re wrong and you’re right.
I guess we all have these base impulses as human beings. The need to react to every single sense of persecution or annoyance that rises within us. To feel good, sometimes we need to put others down or to make them feel like what they believe in is incorrect – for the sake of “debate”.
For simple decisions, like choosing what type of cereal to get at the grocery store, or maybe whether to go with blue or black as your color theme for your wedding, maybe it’s okay to be a bit impulsive or reactive. To simply choose whatever comes to mind and then move forward with whatever else it is that you need to do.
However, I’d say that for larger decisions, like deciding on a proper mortgage, buying health insurance, or making sure how to properly take care of a loved one, it is probably better to let your initial thoughts marinate for a little bit. Let it sizzle in your mind. Reflect a little bit and then once you have that period of rest and space, make a decision that you feel to be most appropriate and best for all parties involved.
This happens to me many times while working in my business. Sometimes, I would get interrupted in the middle of thinking about how to approach a client or writing a “high-level” email. Once I get interrupted, my mindset shifts from proactivity and reactivity. And at that point, it’s very easy to end up just saying yes to every request that comes to you. And eventually, you end up running around doing random things throughout the day without thinking - like a chicken with its head cut off!
It is a bit amusing I must admit. But it can also be a bit risky as well. Because you might end up doing something or saying something that you will regret down the road. Or you may say something that is hurtful or even completely incorrect to what you believe in. People react differently and when they react, sometimes they don’t say what they mean.
So, when I feel that sense of agitation rise when I get interrupted and I sense my focus slipping, I try my best to pause for a little bit and take a “mental break”. Focus on my breathing for a little bit or just open the window of my room and get some more fresh air inside. I stretch on my chair a little bit or close my eyes to heighten my other senses. Anything that you feel can kind of interrupt that interruption, so that you can get back on track towards having a more proactive and responsive mindset.
It’s not a foolproof strategy of course. Nothing is. But for me, I find that it helps me get through the workday a little bit better, especially when people inevitably come and go and interrupt you to do things that you personally deem to be infuriatingly inconsequential. But that’s life and quite frankly in the grand scheme of things it’s not that big of a deal.
It’s just that sometimes we make it a bigger deal than we have to. I also understand that throughout the day, sometimes we have no choice but to make a reactive decision, based on our circumstances. An emergency doctor or an ER nurse does not have the luxury to “pause” for a break in the middle of a surgery or a medical complication. A lawyer doesn’t have the privilege to simply stop and meditate for a few minutes while in the middle of speaking at a trial.
So yes, in some sense, reactivity is inevitable. But I guess just do the best you can to let your thoughts and ideas marinate for a little bit, before rushing to conclusions. Before coming to a decision of what should’ve or should not have happened. Because the world is fluid, and everyone inevitably changes – for “better” or for “worse”.
We’re all just here for the ride, so do your best to enjoy your journey to the fullest. And do your best to think things through before saying it at that meeting or even writing it out in your own blog!