Olly Headey

June 6, 2022

Think about it

Listen to your gut. Trust your intuition. Lean on your experience. I think there’s a reasonable amount of truth in this when it comes to making decisions, and I can think of many examples where my initial instinct turned out to be a pretty good choice. Impulsive decisions can often be the best ones.

This isn’t the case for reactions. The verbal or written variety that is, not the physical ones which allow you to catch a glass you elbowed off the counter before it hits the floor. Physical reactions are remarkable, verbal ones are detrimental.

A decision is essentially “do this, or do that”, but it requires some level of thinking. A verbal reaction is an impulsive, knee-jerk defence mechanism from somewhere deep in your unconscious mind. Thinking not required.

Reactions are easy because they don’t require thinking. They’re kinda lazy. I know this because I’m kinda lazy and occasionally guilty of them, despite knowing full well that a reaction will probably be regrettable. It’s easier said than done, but the answer lies in your ability to turn that gut reaction into a response.

So pause. Take a breath. Count to ten. Take a minute. Sleep on it if you must. Think about it and respond. Just don’t react.

About Olly Headey

Journal of Olly Headey. Co-founder of FreeAgent. Director of Engineering at 37signals. More at headey.net.