Four Seconds To Better Choices

Peter Bregman wrote a book called “Four Seconds”. I heard him discuss it on a Harvard Business Review podcast.

The concept is this: a pause of four seconds is enough time to change what you normally do (reactive) to making a better choice (proactive).

Consider anything on your list of habits you would like to eliminate. You know which, the things you do, but don’t want to do.

Mine might include scarfing down any snack food that’s readily available. Or it might be sitting in my chair and watching television too long. Others might be more serious. Perhaps you lose your temper readily and do or say things you wish you didn’t.

Bregman’s point is that many of these actions are automatic. We do them without thinking.

His recommendation is to pause. It’s within your ability to pause four seconds and choose a different path.

Our brain likes to work automatically. It requires less energy to be on automatic.

But, the fact is, with a bit of concentration, we have the power to override automatic responses and choose better ones.

So, do some preparation. What is the list of things you do automatically that you wish you didn’t? What would be a better choice if you paused before you did them? Why not try it out?


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PalletOne CEO Howe Wallace
PalletOne Inc.
Company President, Howe Q. Wallace

Since 2005, he has been sharing his thoughts on the organization, leadership, and communication in an online daily note to teammates called Daily with HQ.


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