No Sharper Blade
Posted July 18, 2015on:
I have bad habit I’d really like to break.
I tend to react, often quickly, often with great vigor, and… often without much forethought. In other words, I tend to overreact, fly off the handle and not think before doing so.
So very much not a good habit.
Some of this comes from the fact I’ve felt rushed to make decisions all my life. We live in a world where instantaneous responses are demanded for more and more daily affairs. A product of technology perhaps, though I didn’t grow up in the era of cellphones and email.
That said… I often dream of those days when people would travel for days to carry a message from one person to another. Imagine a note from a Roman Centurion to his family. Some news would be missed in the weeks and months between letters, little events such as his son’s first steps would not be so vital to record in a letter as a count of the wool gathered from the sheep this past season or that Citizen Maxanimus had offered to tutor the young child for the small fee of two hens.
Today however, messages are traded back and forth at the speed of conversation. Some people type better with their thumbs than they do with all their fingers combined. And many of these people can’t use a pen except to scribble their name on some official forms or an electronic pad at the store.
With that kind of communication speed, it’s easy to expect near instant answers to every question that can be asked. Extra company is coming over… Can you pick up two loaves of Italian bread on the way home? Oh, and XXYY can’t eat gluten, so can you also grab some rice? (because, of course, company that didn’t plan to come until the last minute expects a feast when they arrive) Or the fear of relationship trouble … Are you mad? You didn’t call this morning (because we need to call our dates the first thing we wake up or we clearly don’t like them)
Don’t we ever take time to process things anymore? Is it so wrong to simply have a cuppa and maybe a dish of fruit and cheese or some snacks as opposed to a full meal when unexpected guests arrive? Or to say… “Oh, I didn’t know you were coming. I was making X, but I can put that in the fridge for tomorrow if that doesn’t work and we can go to Smith’s Restaurant tonight.”
Yes, some decisions need to be made on a moment’s notice. But we live in a world where every decision seems so urgent…. And I am not good at it. I like to think my ideas through. I panic. I get frustrated. I snap…
I’d like to change that about myself, but… it’s not easy to do. The best way I’ve discovered? Refuse to make so many instantaneous decisions. Demand time to let the ideas and possibilities simmer. Something I have learned in my near-half-a-century of life is that there are second and third and fourth (and more) chances to redo those poor initial reactions.
Some cool links on decision-making:
- Ruth Chang “How to Make Hard Choices (ted.com)
- Do You Have Difficulty Making Decisions? (Psych Central)
- Why Anxious People Have Difficulty Making Decisions (Futurity.org)