Opinions are one thing I have plenty of but I really thought I’d be able to control them throughout the week. All I needed to do it slow down and insert a thoughtful pause before responding, right? This turned out to be easier in the planning stage than it was to carry out. Part of the learning here was that it took real effort to hold my tongue and/or converse without voicing my opinion. It got better throughout the week but I’m far from accomplished on this point. Once again a work in progress. And progress I will.
Sometimes I was half-way through asserting my opinion before I realized I had crossed that line. I got a little chuckle out of how quickly it happened without me thinking about it. At first I didn’t want to stop. My opinions are good and they’re well thought out, I said to myself. Then I thought, isn’t that an opinion? Hmmmm…Even funnier was how I later tried to backtrack off my opinions once I realized what I had done. It didn’t help but it was funny.
My reactions were much more constructive in other cases. Soon I was able to control my visceral responses when circumstances may have prompted an animated response full of my thoughts on a multitude of matters. A look, a wry grin or sometimes a constructive redirection of the conversation all did wonders. Then it hit me; how much mental and physical energy had I wasted voicing and debating my opinions and those of others? To what end? Those conversations, whether personal, work related, political or philosophical usually ended in predictable ways because they always followed the same patterns. I’ve found that energy is much more useful focused on positive accomplishments. I knew it in my head but that’s still an “Ah-ha” moment for me.
And another thing; when I didn’t voice my opinions those conversations changed. I asked more questions and I listened more. I started to realize the outcomes were changing too, and good ways. We might be on to something here. This is a behavior worthy of becoming a full-fledged habit so it’s staying in my quiver.
I’m excited to see the learning process in action. The progress this week was noticeable and I like it.
“If I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits.” – Og Mandino – The Greatest Salesman in the World.
Can’t wait for week 6! Giddyup!