In our fast-paced world, where everything revolves around you, arises a strong need to be able to think quickly and make decisions instantly. However, as the tendency shows, people opt to take hasty decisions, instead of slowing down and thinking over. Because of these impulsive actions, they have to face the consequence that may be far from those expected.
To avoid the undependable outcome, we need to learn the golden rule – think before you act. It sounds simplistic and primitive, however, as the practice shows, it turns to be unknown and inapplicable by the vast majority of people.
Here comes the moment, when you release that there is a need to change something, otherwise many aspects of your life will get worth, and many taken decisions may turn faulty. Imagine a situation, when you decided to upload an individual photo onto your social network profile. This hasty decision may turn unserious; however, if you deepen in this issue enough, you will realize that it may cause a negative result.
For instance, it may be used by any criminals or posted somewhere without your permission.
Make an effort and change your attitude to life and situations, which may demand a serious approach from you. As show in the life experience of adults, they feel regret after taking hasty decisions, as those may cause inevitable changes and results. Bear in mind the fact, that your choice or impulsive act, not only influences you, but also those people, who surround you. Imagine a situation – you decided to visit a specific place with your friends and relatives.
Everything may seem all right, without apparent hazards. However, it is always a good idea to think about possible dangerous things and unexpected situations in advance. Most probably, nothing terrible will happen. However, you will be able to predict situations and be ready to face and solve the potential difficulties. Think, before you act! It may make you stronger and enable to solve any complicated issue that may spontaneously arise.
It is important to think over before acting, as it can prevent unpleasant situations not only you but also your friends and relatives. A habit to take just deliberate decisions and then acting may positively influence all spheres of your life. What is more, it may change everything for the better. This habit will allow you to decrease the number of unpleasant situations.
The chances to save your time and nerves will significantly increase. Undoubtedly, you will not be able to predict all the unpleasant things waiting for you in the future; it is impossible. However, you can make a habit of thinking in advance and be ready to face any situations.
As soon as you start thinking before acting, you will be able to see, how your life will positively transform. People, who act spontaneously more frequently undergo unpleasant situations and show a tendency to regret their decisions. It may seem not very serious; however, if you dig deeper, you will discover that they are less happy. Because of always being under pressure of stressful events and negative experiences caused by taking of hasty decisions, people become annoyed and exhausted.
The biggest problem is that they do not realize that it is their fault. They are not able to understand that wit works woe. We are responsible for everything that happens to us, so thinking before acting may be a useful strategy enabling to prevent us from unpleasant consequences.
As is often the case in situations, which demands self-control and patient approach, we tend to make hasty decision relying on our feelings and emotions, overlooking and ignoring the logical choices. As a result, we have to face the consequences, which do not always match our expectations. It is good when such situations happen rarely.
Then, you can tell, that people are not machines and sometimes they tend to mistake. However, there are also those, for whom taking hasty decisions is a norm and a way of life. For such people, everything is much more complicated. They get used to that way of life and are not able to make well-grounded decisions and act patiently and rationally.
At a certain period of life, people who are used to making hasty decisions and acting spontaneously, they come to the point, when they realize that it is time to slow down and become more down to earth. For the reason of making hasty decisions, many aspects of life can undergo adverse changes. Many situations, especially those needing a severe approach, cannot be solved overnight. One has to focus on the issue and compare all pros and cons of the possible solutions.
It helps to choose the best option. In a modern, fast-paced world we are in the constant pursuit of success and development, people act quickly and there many negative consequences. Primarily, it can wrongly influence the result. Moreover, consistent need to take decisions immediately does not allow to simply enjoy life. We lose valuable moments because we cannot concentrate and penetrate deeply in things that may bring us joy and pleasure. As a result, each person is under stress and faces the urgent need to contact the psychologists and take antidepressants.
Overall taking hasty and quick decisions and acting before thinking brings no good. This strategy proved to be unsuccessful and even harmful. People suffer from their acts, which could be avoided if they had spent enough time in the decision-making process. It is a crucial thing to realize that quickly does not mean right. Thinking increases the effectiveness of your acts.
What is more, it allows excluding all the wrong actions. Bear in mind the fact that thought does not mean that you have to spend long hours trying to choose the right path. On the contrary, it means looking for the optimal way allowing reaching the result you want. Even if the time is limited, it is possible to spend a few minutes or even second and act correctly, avoiding the consequences, which may make you regret it.
Should I, or should I not? A question so powerful that it can decide whether the events to follow will be suitable or not, a question around which our lives revolve, a simple question that can change who we are forever. Yet this vital question is often taken for granted and ignored. Why? Because many people in the world refuse to think before they act.
Humans have to think before doing anything; it’s simply how the brain works. But the phrase “think before you act” encompasses much more than basic brain processing and is typically used to refer to think about the possible outcomes of a situation and make the best choice about what to do. When one thinks before acting he/she must begin with the end in mind.
Essentially, by thinking before acting, one plans what will happen next. Sure, the future is unpredictable but considering the circumstances, one may be able to make a good guess about what action will give the most favorable results. Everyone has had that moment when the wrong thing was said or done and sets off a series of unwanted events.
Unfortunately, I have been in this situation more times than I would like. I, too, am guilty of not wanting to think before I act as often as I should especially at home. I have a tendency to anger my parents a little too often, but I know that almost every quarrel could have been avoided had I thought before I said or done something.
I know that when I fight with my sisters or talk back to my parents there will be consequences that I will not like but I continue to do it. If I were to just stop and think about what was going on and that I will get in trouble for doing/saying what I so impulsively want to do/say, I could probably save myself many more groundings. But that is the problem, a large majority of people let themselves be guided by impulse, rather than thought.
Impulsive behavior can occasionally be fun like when deciding to randomly go out with some friends or something along those lines, but many times impulsive behavior is the result of not thinking and can be quite dangerous. Impulsive behavior is perpetual; once one starts acting on impulse, it’s hard to want to stop. Say you do randomly go out with your friends to the club.
While you are there, you decide to take a drink, because hey what’s one going to do? But after a while, you get so caught up in the fun you are having that you drink more, and more, and more. All of a sudden you’re drunk but still having fun. It gets late and you have to get home but you and all of your friends have been drinking a little too much and are in no condition to drive. You have to get home somehow so you decide, what’s the big deal? You go to the car and offer to take your friend’s home.
Now the party continues on the car ride back, wooh! So fun! Right? Wrong. Within minutes, your slow reaction time caused by the alcohol causes you to crash, killing two of your friends and innocent people in the other car. Now, let’s go back to when you first arrived at the club. Instead of just diving into the fun, someone should have stopped to think about what would happen after everyone had had their fun. If someone had simply asked himself/herself things like “If I start drinking will I be able to stop drinking before it gets out of hand?” and “Will I be able to control myself?” He/she would have realized that if everyone was drinking, no one would be in complete control and it could result in a dangerous situation.
Little questions like that can leave crucial effects in not just your life but everyone around you. A designated driver could have then been appointed and the whole accident could have been avoided. All anyone had to do was stop and think. Henry Ford once said, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it.” His statement may be true and why it seems that so many people don’t, but it really isn’t rocket science. If everyone just put a little bit of effort into thinking about what to do, the world could live in much more harmony, and the world would become a safer place to live.
The law of life of thinking before acting is something that can have drastically different results. It can make us and the people that surround us happy or when ignored can greatly upset us. Whether we choose to pay attention to it or ignore it, this law of life can define who we are. So whenever you want to do something, take a step back to really think and ask yourself: should I, or should I not?
Last year I was riding home in the car and we were turning into our neighborhood. I was looking down the road and a pickup truck rear-ended a small car about 50 feet ahead of us. They both pulled to the side of the road as we stopped to wait for the cars to clear before we could continue. But then the man got out of the pickup and walked over to the car he hit without looking at the possible damage to his own car. He slammed his fist violently on the driver’s window.
A chill went through my body as the man started screaming at this person inside the car as he was banging and kicking the car. After several punches and yells, he walked back to his truck and sped off really fast. I can’t imagine the fear and terror the person in the car felt. Getting rear-ended is scary enough and to watch a guy almost break your window while threatening you would haunt me for ages. I didn’t see this person in the car but I know how it could have been anyone. It could have been a 20 yr old girl, an old lady, or a middle-aged man.
I believe in the saying “think about what you are going to do before you do or say it.” I believe that it can improve our relationships with friends and family and help our souls. Like the man who yelled at the person in the car, people often do not realize the consequences of their actions until after the act because they decide to go on instinct instead of what the logical act is.
I know in my life that it would help me become a better person because I often don’t think before I do things and I sometimes regret it. If the man in the pickup would have pulled over after he hit the person in front of him and sat there thinking about the situation while getting out to look at the front of his car, he could have made a rational decision, like waiting for the other person to exit the car and talking to them calmly about what happened.
If he thought about it, he would at first feel the anger he did to cause him to get out and punch the car in the first place, but then realize the person in the car or an observer could simply take down their license plate number, like a lot of people do when they get in these situations, and he could get in trouble with the police.
He also might realize that the person in the other car could also become violent and someone could get hurt. And the last realization that may have come to mind was that he could cause great fear and terror to the person in the other car as he screamed and punched the car. This would cause him the pain of regretting what he did and cause the pain that the person in the car feels today. You can see how much better one situation can be just by thinking through and making better decisions.
Every day people make decisions they regret, and if we took just those few minutes to think through what the consequences of those decisions are, we would all be better off. This is what I believe.
All my life I have been taught to think before I act, in order to prevent myself from making a mistake. Yet, I have learned through my many errors in life not to duplicate my unfortunate actions. Many times I have been told to consider the consequences of my actions prior to acting. I have found, though, that this may not always be the best approach. I would not argue this to be true in every situation, however.
What is to be said, for example, of those who have acted on their emotions, only to find themselves in prison? One must be able to know instinctively which situations are appropriate to be dealt with solely on emotions, and which are to require a certain amount of development. Nevertheless, as von Kleist states, in “On Thinking Things Over: A Paradox”, the proper time to reflect on the action is after the act has occurred.
Life is constantly throwing curveballs.
They come from every angle, at differing speeds and all make diverse, lasting impacts. Yet, no matter how many are thrown in our direction, one may never be able to know when or from where the next is coming. Kierkegaard, a Danish philosopher, once said that “Life can only be understood backward, but must be lived forward.” Meaning that, much like the curveballs, there is no way to understand what life will throw at us in the future, yet we must learn based on the experiences that have occurred in our past.
For instance, when one becomes aware of the fact that a curveball is in their near future, and is ready to throw them off course, there is no time to think of what steps to take in order to get out of harm’s way. One must act solely on instinct, while simultaneously thinking through the process. We must then continue to think it over.
When most young people hop into the driver’s seat for the first time, they usually don’t think of the consequences of their every action. I certainly didn’t. Although you learn about accidents in drivers ed, you think, That can never happen to me. Well, it can. You are responsible for your actions, and one bad turn can cost you your life.
Not long ago, I came home late from a friend’s house very tired. I heard a noise as I got into bed and soon I heard sirens. I looked out and saw fire trucks and police cars speeding past our house. My initial thought was that someone’s house was on fire and I hoped everyone was okay.
My mom went out to see what all the commotion was about and when she returned, she told me there had been a serious accident down the street. A teenage girl was driving a convertible with a number of friends.
I figured it must be bad, but when I got there things were worse than I expected. Caution tape was already fluttering around the scene but I could see that the convertible was totaled and pushed into the side of a garage. Two cars that had been parked in the driveway were also totaled.
Neighbors, paramedics, firemen, and police filled the streets. A witness told me the driver had raced through the neighborhood, lost control, run through a cable box and a tree, and ended up smashing into the corner of the garage. The teens were thrown from the car and had been taken to the hospital. The driver was 16.
In Delaware, high-school students take a semester course that requires classroom hours, passing a test, and a minimum of 14 trips on the road with an instructor, seven driving and seven observings. After that, they can get their learner’s permit. For the first six months, 15-year-olds must drive with a licensed driver over the age of 25 in the front seat. Then, you are allowed to drive by yourself until 10 p.m. After another year, you are a full-fledged, licensed driver.
Despite all this, the driving age is still too young. Teens do not have enough experience by the time they hit the road on their own and the wreckage I saw is proof. Not everyone takes driving seriously and one careless move could mean your life – or someone else’s. If the driving age were raised to 17 or 18, teens might drive more maturely. Also, if the amount of driving time with an adult were extended to a year, it would give drivers more experience before going solo.
So next time you get into the driver’s seat, remember to think about every move you make and drive smart.
It is important to think through one’s courses of action before acting. This is because there are often many ways of solving a given problem. Some solutions to a problem can be quite obvious. Others require careful deliberation to arrive at. Once a list of possible solutions or courses of action has been arrived at, then one selects the solution that best addresses the given problem.
Such a problem-solving process also allows an individual to understand the consequences of his or her actions and to make peace with these consequences. Impulsive acts, on the other hand, often lead to regrets, as the consequences catch the actor off guard. As an example, consider a sudden invitation to attend a party at a friend’s house. I could impulsively decide to attend this party without asking any questions, such as: Who are the other guests? Will I be safe?
What drinks or food will be on offer? On the other hand, careful deliberation of the invitation could help me to understand whether I really would like to attend this party or not. Thinking through this invitation equips me with the knowledge I need in order to make an informed decision—one that I need not regret later.
We often open our mouths and say things without thinking of the consequences. Every action has a reaction. Everything we do in life has a consequence. I know we normally hear that word and we think of it meaning something bad. However, that is not the case. It simply means the result of an action. In some cases it’s simple.
Action: You tell a girl you like her hair
Consequence: She smiles and says thank you. She may move on or she may feel more confident about it for the rest of the day. /
You don’t know. Maybe she was having a bad day and your compliment made her feel better. That’s the consequence of your action. It’s a good thing. However, sometimes it’s different.
Action: You tease a girl about her clothing choice with your friends when she is around.
Consequence: She thinks back to her mom taking her shopping for new clothes so she could fit in. She feels bad. She feels like she wasted her time. She feels uncomfortable for the rest of the day. She wants to be invisible.
I’ve been in that position. That girl has been met, and believe me when I say no one should have to feel like that. No one deserves to feel awful about themselves. No one deserves to wish to feel invisible so they can avoid stares and comments. It’s a terrible feeling and what is even sadder is that so many people can relate. It needs to end.
You do not know what those comments or actions are doing to others. Even if you are familiar with the experience, which if you are, why are you doing it to someone else, you don’t know exactly how it is making that person feel. You don’t know what is going on in their life. If something has happened to put someone in a fragile state and then you go about having your “fun” teasing them, you don’t know what that’s doing to them.
It’s hard because speaking is thinking. We associate thinking as not speaking, hence this is unintuitive at first, but think about it. Thinking is our inner voice and speech is the same, just out loud. It’s our external voice. So they are both the output of what spontaneously comes to mind, and they both inspire the brain in a similar manner. Ergo,
Thinking is speaking to ourselves, and speaking is thinking to others.
Phil Wyman is correct in that we don’t think before we speak. Speaking doesn’t involve thinking. Speaking is thinking. You cannot say what you cannot think, and you cannot think about what you cannot say. They are one and the same. We are able to speak fast because we speak off the top of our heads.
Words just flow out of us. We are reaching more than we are responding. It’s a form of intellectual and articulate reaction, and not really a response. For response, we require time and often prefer letters or presentations. Those we can compose with thought. Regular conversation? Not so much.
Your brain can react to your own speech as if they were thoughts. Usually, when we speak we have the audience in mind, and we censor ourselves for good reason. We also choose to be confident and conclusive in what we say. We act how we wish to be perceived. But without these things, you can say what is on your mind and have a more open conversation. It is also common to censor our thoughts. We try not to think of certain things.
Given the above, here is a better way of phrasing the question: How can you speak more thoughtfully?
Here are a few ways it is done:
- Practice. Great speech is often tested and proven. A great storyteller or comedian may thoroughly impress you, but it’s likely not the first time they told that story or used that line on someone. This applies to reactions also. The first time you were insulted, maybe you punched the guy in the face or cussed him out. If you no longer do that, it’s probably not because you think before you react, but rather, because you’ve stopped reacting that way from experience. In other words, you’ve had practice.
- Think beforehand. A lot of great answers were thought through beforehand. We think a lot about certain things. When we are asked about topics we are invested in, there is more “thoughtful” output we can provide off the top of our heads. Thinking takes time, and we are more or less all slow. But when you invest your time thinking about something, those thoughts surface when it comes time to speak. Speech is your return on investment.
- Talk slowly. We cannot talk and think simultaneously. To think, you must stop. You physically must stop talking! So when we are in talk mode, especially fast talk mode, we are in a zone that puts our thinking selves aside. To awaken the thinking brain, we must stop talking. Great thinkers know this, and will use lines like, “Let me think about that for a second.” Sometimes they will ask a question and make you talk to give them a moment to think. I’ve caught people not listening when they do this, because it is hard to listen and think simultaneously also!
- Don’t talk. A lot of talkers have a hard time with this, but the less nonsense that comes out of your mouth, the more sense does. When we speak, we don’t think. We search. If you can’t find something thoughtful to say, just don’t say it. If you don’t have an answer, don’t give one. You may be surprised at how others change their perception of you with this simple trick. “Smart” people talk less, but when they do, everyone listens. Ironically, they may not be smart at all. They’re just smarter for talking less!
- Think out loud. Share your thoughts, and get your audience to think with you. You can do all this while speaking.
- Be a thoughtful person. We react with who we are. If you are a more thoughtful individual, what you say instinctively will reflect that. If you wish to speak more thoughtfully, become a more thoughtful person. Just become smarter.
If you come across someone that appears to think before they speak, crosscheck with the above. From my experience, there are few exceptions to this list.
Our brains are involved in every action we take, and every word we speak. Brain scientists measure and chart the activity to even our involuntary actions.
When we say that we act before we think, we are not actually talking even about these involuntary actions like the knee jerk at the tap of a hammer, but rather we are talking about impulsiveness and impetuous behavior.
Understanding that this is the case may hold the key to our ability to change our impulsivity. Our brains are in action, and we are thinking when we react in a “knee-jerk” manner. Could it be that we are reacting so quickly to the thoughts we have that it seems as though we did not think about it?
When we are reminded of a painful situation, or our biased judgments are triggered, it is not that we did not think, rather it is that we have quickly responded to the first thought. When we are sure that we know more than the next person, and their supposed stupidity bothers us and we lash out, perhaps we have simply acted like the drunk man whose inhibitions were dropped and he started saying the first thing that came to his mind.
Perhaps then our solutions to behaving less impetuously are found in the second thought. Learning to see people and situations in a new light may give us the power to wait for a second thought to develop before we react.
It has been some time since I read the book “Blink: the power of thinking without thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell but this is one of the primary topics of the book. It covers studies on quick actions and identifying when those actions were helpful, and when they carried a negative impact.
Example #10 – interesting ideas
Can it be cultivated? – Yes.
- Just by increasing your reading/ skills. One should know so much on the subject that it should take some time to assimilate an answer.
- It happens automatically if one’s thinking and answering are in different languages.
- Try to collect/perceive as much information as possible (actually all available) before reacting.
- Always try to find a permanent solution rather than a temporary one. This takes a lot of thinking.
- Play chess, bridge.
Is there an injection? – No. I am not aware of any such injection.
Is there a pill one can take? – No. I am not aware of any such pill. However, I have noticed people chewing tobacco take their time to respond.
Is this ability contagious? – Yes. I have experienced this. While with the persons of this type, I tend to fall in line.