Personal change can happen in many ways. The most effective is the change we opt-in to make. These are the changes we agree should be made and more importantly should be made. I am not talking about the simple choices in life like which Starbuck’s flavor to buy, or what clothes to wear today. No, I am talking about personal behavioral changes.
One of my most important changes recently is deciding to hold my tongue. I mean those moments where a choice jab or curt response is right there on the tip of that devil. I realized I do far more harm than good when those little missiles get launched. So, I work hard at holding them back. More importantly I try altering my thought process that leads up to those moments.
In business we all have meetings that consume our day; most of the time we have a good sense of how the meeting will go. This evaluation depends on the topic and the people participating or the leaders holding the meeting. Usually we can adjust our thinking to properly calibrate for that time. If the topic is intense, we can bolster ourselves for heated discussion. If the leader is laid back, maybe the temperature in the room will be mild. So thinking ahead can often posture our minds for the right response when we are called upon or challenged. Oh sure, there are those surprise moments where we feel ambushed. But even then, if we have been practicing a solid mindset about the work situation, our response can be measured and guarded appropriately.
Our personal lives may not be as easy. For one, we get too familiar with those closest to us. We forget to realize they too have feelings and can say or do things that catch us off guard. So practicing the mindset calibration so readily recognized in business, is often much harder to do at home. I argue that the personal realm has an even greater need for this kind of internal change. Jobs come and go. Work load changes constantly. But the immediate family is here to stay.
I encourage you to take this little challenge. Change your mind about the thoughts you like to hold onto; the ones that cause the caustic remarks and hard biting quips. Let it go. Hold them back. Then, over time, see if your whole world starts to look up, be a little calmer and friendlier. I’ll bet it will.