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Habit of Mind 2 (HoM)

May 24th, 2019 · No Comments


Habit of Mind 2: Managing Impulsivity

“….goal directed self-imposed delay of gratification is perhaps the essence of emotional self-regulation: the ability to deny impulse in the service of a goal, whether it be building a business, solving an algebraic equation, or pursuing the Stanley cup.

Daniel Goleman Emotional Intelligence (1995) p. 83

Think before you act - a timeless quote and saying within our families for generations, but how do we do it?

Well….that is a tricky one.

Have the confidence to be your own resources. Trust yourself, know your limits and bounds and always, always, always check your emotional temperature.

This study we found about emotional intelligence and how it affects reasoning stated the following, “Participants who were asked to reflect on their emotions performed more poorly on the reasoning task than participants asked to reflect on cognitive aspects of the task. Affect intolerance moderated this effect such that people who were more tolerant of their emotions performed better in the cognitive reflection condition than in the emotional reflection condition, but individuals who were less tolerant of their emotions performed the same in both conditions. Overall, these studies support previous findings that emotion can negatively impact performance on reasoning tasks but suggest a more complex relationship for affect intolerance.” (Harvey, 2010)

The point of the study was to prove that your emotional temperature is everything and you would do well to measure it in every situation. Example, you are at work on the production line doing your best to receive the boxes from the person before you, tape them up and send them down the line. The productivity of each individual effects everyone on the line. The person before you has worked their much longer and is of course, faster than you are. At one point, the person in front of you is moving a bit slower that the pace you are sending the boxes and the fast guy up front is sending them quickly. You have assessed that the pace of the entire line is decreasing and tell the person in front, please slow down for a second so we can catch up. Nothing changes. You repeat yourself, again and then again. Now, you are getting frustrated and angry. These emotions cloud your thinking. Now, your choices are driven by that anger.

You shout out to the person in front, “Hey! I said slow down like 100 times, you deaf?”

At that point you realize, dang that was not right. That was impulsive. My anger got the best of me and I am sorry.Sometimes sorry is not enough and you can’t go back to make it right. Don’t worry – everyone makes mistakes.

When someone is not listening responding the way you want, STOP! Check your emotional temperature. The more you do this, the better at it you become. Takes only 7 repetitions to build a habit. Then its natural and before you know it your impulsivity is managed.

Reminder: You can only control yourself and nothing else.

Constant little mental notes – choose one – use it & love it!

  • Relax, and think it through!
  • Take your time!
  • Count to 10!
  • Take a break.
  • Breathe……
  • Try a different way.

This rushing feeling we get when we speak out of turn or know these answers, was so passionate within us when we were younger. Now our patience and impulsivity manifests in different ways such as: assumptions, disbelief, and judgement – these all create emotion.

In the words of Hangover- “Check yoself before you wreck yoself”

You can do it.

Everyone is impulsive, that’s human nature- be the better person and manage yours.



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