6 Impulses that Sabotage Us

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There are 6 impulses that sabotage us and do not serve us well, and if we are not careful, they will sabotage what we want and derail us. Les Parrott offers six in 3 Seconds: The Power of Thinking Twice. He claims it only takes three seconds to reconsider your first impulse and transform your life.

6 Impulses that sabotage us by leadershipnow

1. The Impulse to Give Up Before Trying

When faced with a problem that’s seemingly beyond your control, you are sure to feel helpless … if you give in to your first impulse. You’ll say, “There’s nothing I can do about it.”

2. The Impulse to Shun a Challenge

When faced with a challenge that seems beyond your abilities, you are sure to feel overwhelmed … if you give in to your first impulse. You’ll say to yourself, “It’s too difficult to even try.” But if you listen to that message, you’ll never discover what is often true: that you’re far more capable of facing this challenge than you imagined.

3. The Impulse to Settle for the Status Quo

When you have the opportunity to do what you dream of, what your heart longs to do, you are sure to feel unfulfilled … if you give in to your first impulse. You’ll say, “I’ll simply do what happens to come my way.”

4. The Impulse to Shirk Responsibility

When you are in a thorny predicament and looking for excuses or ways to lay blame, you are sure to feel defensive … if you give in to your first impulse. You’ll be tempted to say, “It’s not my problem.”

5. The Impulse to Do the Mere Minimum

When given an assignment at work or at home, you are sure to do the minimum required … if you give into your first impulse. In fact, most of us did that during our elementary and high school years. Sure, some kids lived for “extra credit,” but they were in the minority. It’s tempting to keep following the easier first impulse throughout college and career, too.

6. The Impulse to Avoid Taking Action

When you look at plans that seem too big to tackle, you are sure to think and talk about them without actually doing anything … if you give in to your first impulse. You’ll say, “I’m not quite ready, but I will be someday.”

To counteract these impulses, we need to learn secondary impulses. It only takes three seconds to momentarily stop and consider the outcomes we really want. “It requires a suspension of our natural inclination to remember that we have a choice in what we will say, what we will do, and who we will be. ‘In the study of one’s personal language and self-talk,’ said Sidney Madwed, ‘it can be observed that what one thinks and talks about to himself tends to become the deciding influence in is life. For what the mind attends to, the mind considers.’”

Les Parrott tackles each of these impulses and explains why and how to replace our first impulse with a second impulse that serves us well. The second impulse involves risk. “When you disown your helplessness, you risk responsibility and when you embrace a challenge, you risk losing face. When your passion is fuelled, you risk the comfort of what’s known. You can own your piece of the pie, you risk taking the blame. When you walk the extra mile, you risk being exhausted. Quit stewing and start doing, you risk failure.” But it’s better than the risk of regret and making progress.

Instead of settling for “whatever,” learn to do “whatever it takes.”

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