BY: T. Franklin Murphy | May 2018
Creating Space to Make Better Decisions
There is a small slice of time between emotion and reaction. We need to utilize this space, shove in a wedge, widen the gap, and act with greater wisdom.
Environmental triggers and biological drives intertwine to dictate behavior; the actor is acted upon by these forces. Our weapon to combat the unseen motivational forces is reflective thought. Through the subtleties of thought, we change environments and adjust the underlying emotions with new learnings. As humans, we proudly tout our self-governing abilities but many routinely sell their birthright of free-will for a mere bowl of porridge. Instead of self-governing beings acting towards intentions, we often settle to be acted on by happenstances.
Our mind slyly interprets our compulsive responses. Through smooth deceptions, self-righteous justifications, and lack of awareness, we explain away chaotic future-destroying action as appropriate and necessary. We unconsciously react but retain a sense of empowerment through the self-told stories. We act as servants to biological and environmentally driven motivations but maintain our beliefs of free-will. We may routinely justify behaviors as appropriate that push us off course. In order to improve our circumstances, we must honestly recognize wayward drifts and make appropriate corrections. Unacknowledged we eventually drift too far, losing sight of reality, blindly believing to be in control while living a life of chaos.
Justifications soften the blunt strikes of reality on the psyche; but nevertheless, reality still plays its fateful hand. We gain weight when we consume too many unhealthy calories; we damage relationships with harsh words and insensitivities; we lose competitive advantage by wasting time. No matter the explanation, the excuse or justification the constructive actions avoided fail to mold our lives. Improvement demands we honor reality. If we understand the relationship between goals and present behavior, we can design a program to successfully attain those intentions.
"Justifications soften the blunt strikes of reality on the psyche; but nevertheless, reality still plays its fateful hand."
Evolution has compassionately introduced a buffer between the environment, inner urges and our final responding behavior. Consciousness enables those, who effectively use it, the power to disengage from the powerful driving forces and select more appropriate behaviors.
We have power to act in productive ways that enhance futures. To use this powerful gift, we must purposely seek awareness of the underlying emotions influencing action; pause when practical and then thoughtfully proceed. Often emotions are on target, leading us towards intentions, guiding choices with hidden wisdom. Thoughtful awareness, experience and wisdom help us sort through the emotions and detecting when they may be off-course. Wisdom discovers correlations between behaviors and objectives. When we improve present choices, we experience better futures.