Have you ever thought to yourself after doing something, why did I do that? I know I have. If I’m honest, I think this thought a lot. (every day, at least once an hour, you get my point)
But, how many times do we really examine what behaviors we are doing, that have us thinking this way? If you’re like me, you think the thought, and then you move on. You don’t always examine the thought. You don’t really make any changes.
So, what are some behaviors that we could be possibly doing that could lead us to that thought? Why did I do that? Better yet, what are some behaviors that we could possibly change so we won’t be thinking that thought? At least not as much.
Let’s examine 3 behaviors that we may be doing, that we could change. Acting before we think, thinking of what to say instead of listening and imitating the wrong people.
FYI-These are all things that I am working on or have worked on to change. No judgment.
You Act Before You Think
We all are guilty of this. How many times has a knee jerk reaction gotten you into some trouble? How many times has an assumption you made led you to the wrong conclusion? Or worse yet, led you to say the wrong thing? (Everyone don’t raise their hands at once)
We all do it and some of us are prone to do it more than others. But, do we recognize that we do it and make ourselves aware so we try not to do it again?
What is the benefit of thinking before acting?
-We give ourselves and our brain time to think.
-We exhibit self-control.
-We weigh the question and our decision.
-We keep ourselves from saying and/or doing something that we would later regret.
A lot of times, probably the majority of the time, our brain is running a mile a minute. We don’t allow ourselves to catch up. We just go with the first thing we think of or give a knee jerk reaction.
You have to give yourself time to catch up and think things through. Even if you just take a minute to allow yourself to process, that will probably give you a good perspective on matters.
Now, let’s be clear. We don’t want to overthink or over-analyze every little thing we come upon. I fall into the field of people that do this and trust me, while I take pride in knowing I think through things, I don’t enjoy being stuck in the endless process. (The taking forever to decide what to eat or I don’t know what I want to do club. )
There is a difference between thinking about something and overthinking something. We must learn balance.
Try this: Before making a decision, take a breath. Take a minute. Visualize the possible outcomes. Tell a person that you will get back to them. Go back over all the information, restate, rewrite in your own words. Be sure you understand clearly. Ask or seek out good advice or help in the matter. Revisit past decisions. Evaluate the time it took you to reach a decision and how that decision turned out.
Imitating the Wrong People
We all have someone we admire. Someone who we just wish we could be like, talk like, maybe even look like.
We have probably heard the advice to find someone with good qualities and good morals who we can try to imitate. Whether it’s in our personal or business life, it’s good to find someone with commendable characteristics that we want to emulate.
I think this goes without saying though, that we have to be careful. There are those we should try to imitate and there are those we should not. At times it may not always be easy to tell the difference.
When we have identified someone we want to try to imitate, consider these questions;
Why are we trying to imitate them?
How will intimating them help or better us?
How long has this person been good at what I’m trying to imitate?
Are there good people surrounding this person and do they display some of the same qualities?
Do I really know this person?
Would I recommend my friends, family or even my children to imitate some of the things this person is doing?
When we consider these questions we need to truthfully answer them and really see whether or not we are imitating the right or wrong type of person. We have to make sure that we are imitating the right individual for the right reasons. That in some way, we are supposed to be bettering ourselves by imitating them. The goal should not be to do a total makeover so to speak or to not be us anymore. It should be to find ways to improve ourselves. If this is not why we are doing it, we are doing it for the wrong reasons.
What if you already have set your sights on someone and have been imitating them? Evaluate yourself. You need to evaluate yourself and see if this imitation is actually benefiting you or harming you.
Try this: Ponder these questions;
How are others around you responding?
Are people who really know you seeing some good changes or not so good changes?
If you are a young person in school, how are your grades in school?
How are your parents and teachers reacting to your changes?
Thinking of What to say Instead of Listening
How many times have you found yourself listening to what someone says only to not know what they said? One step further, how many times are you looking at a person speaking, only to be formulating your response?
I will go out on a limb and say that we all have done this at one time or another. We may think that there is nothing wrong with this. We might think that it is good to formulate what we think before we say it right, (refer to point 1). But when does this get in the way?
The older I’ve gotten, the wiser I’ve gotten (thank you very much). So, I feel obliged to share my opinion with all who would like to hear it. But, I started to notice something. I would be looking dead at someone’s face and because of my own thoughts, I couldn’t really hear what they were saying. It sounds crazy but it is so true.
It’s like being somewhere listening to a lecture and someone in your vicinity is having a sidebar conversation. You are trying to listen to what the speaker is saying but you can’t because you are distracted by the sidebar conversation. It’s annoying. It’s annoying not only to you but to the speaker if he or she notices it. It takes away from the message and it leaves you with gaps in what you were supposed to hear.
So compare that to you. You’re looking at someone. They are talking to you. But since you have already formulated an opinion/answer (refer again to point 1) you are thinking about what to say. You can’t hear what they are saying because you are only hearing your own thoughts.
Are you guilty of this? Ponder over these questions;
What is the subject matter?
Am I being a good parent, good friend, a good mentor by not listening?
Do I truly understand what they are saying?
Do I care about what they are saying?
Do they want my opinion, an answer or do they just need someone to listen?
Would I be able to give a better opinion or answer if I truly listened first and heard everything they were telling me?
Do I like it when people don’t listen to me? (Bingo)
I don’t know about you, but real talk, for me, this is the hardest one. Sometimes you don’t realize things are a problem until it’s too late, but when you do, you need to fix them immediately.
When we spend the time that we should be listening to others, with coming up with the next thing we want to say, it’s annoying. It’s annoying to us because we rob ourselves of the chance of not truly hearing, but of allowing ourselves and our brain to truly process information. It’s annoying to the other individual because we are showing them that we don’t really care about what they are saying or about them. And trust me, they will know or figure out if we’re listening or not.
Try this: Practice listening skills. Listen to an audio reading or podcast. Or look at a video. Play it for a short period of time and then stop it. See how much of it you actually heard. Replay it. See how close you were. Put into practice, listening and then seeing how much you heard. When someone is talking to you, keep good eye contact. Clear your mind and really focus on the individual. Restate to them what you heard to make sure you heard correctly.
So there are always behaviors that we have that we can look at adjusting or changing. By analyzing whether or not we act before we think, if we are imitating the wrong individuals or if we are robbing others of not listening to them, we are saying that we care enough about ourselves and others to make needed adjustments in our behaviors.
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