“It is, in fact, far easier to act under conditions of tyranny than it is to think.” -- Hannah Arendt in The Human Condition.
In times of stress, we default to a fight or flight response. This interrupts our higher reasoning functions. Great for running away from a predator on the plains, but less useful in boardrooms.
When faced with a problem, learning to staying calm so as to carefully thinking things through has to create more effective outcomes.
Learning to overcome the panic response.
Reactive behaviours have stem from various causes:
- Hitting out at the immediate symptoms or the messenger: “Ban X. Ban Y. Fire Z…”
- Letting the ego lead: “I have to be right – regardless of the actual validity of my position.”
- Taking things personally: “If they don’t adopt my suggestion completely, then I am unworthy.”
- Making off-the-cuff judgements without due consideration: “You can’t do that.”
When we react without thinking, we can end up solving the wrong problem, or prematurely dismissing threats and opportunities. We paddle madly in the mud doing things that do not in anyway affect the actual problem; or we ignore the problem altogether!
Reacting without thinking is different from intuition. Intuition is necessarily reflective; and cultivated over time with experience and awareness.Image: Grizzly bear via Shutterstock.