Hesitation – Break it for Good / Harness it against Bad

So often we have a good idea or an inclination to do something but we hesitate, we don’t act on it immediately and the moment / opportunity is gone. There is a 5 second window of opportunity to act on an impulse, after that the feeling fades. You have to act fast in the right circumstances.

You can have the notion to get yourself fitter, to get out your chair and make a start on that long overdue exercise … but you hesitate, the urge to do so passes and the good you could have got from the exercise is lost.

You could have a feeling that you want to volunteer your great idea to someone higher in your organisation … but you hesitate, the chance disappears and very often the great idea gets left behind.

The number of ideas you have had in your lifetime that could quite literally have changed your life, that you DIDN’T act on is quite frightening. The amount of good you COULD have achieved if you had just taken the action at the time is unthinkable.

I know the price this hesitation can have on success, on progress, on lifestyle choices and on your well-being. To achieve your major goals action over hesitation is vital.

That said though, I have also discovered a way to use hesitation as a tool rather than a hindrance. Don’t get me wrong I am all for beating hesitation and taking action to create good but there is a way to use it as a benefit and here’s how:

  • If you are trying to get healthy you can use hesitation to delay going to the cupboard for those crisps or going to the coffee machine for a sugar laced coffee.
    • Telling yourself you will go in 15 minutes instead of now can be enough to stop you going altogether.
    • The urge to break your healthy regime passes and your strong self takes over again.
  • If you are bad at procrastinating you can even hesitate your way passed that as well.
    • Say you go to pick up your phone to scroll through Facebook again, only this time instead of making that bad choice you stop.
    • Put the phone back down, let the urge pass and then return to the task in hand that you were actively trying to delay.
    • You finish the annoying piece of work and feel better that it is now complete and off the task list.

I’ve tried this myself, usually in work, by delaying when I’ll go for my coffee (which I take with sugar and milk if you’re asking J). I’ll get the urge to go for the coffee and I tell myself I’ll wait until after my next meeting. By the time my meeting has come and gone I usually no longer feel the need for a coffee and going without didn’t even feel like I was denying myself something.

The same goes for snacking, if I get the urge to go to the vending machine for something entirely unhealthy I’ll delay the decision for at least 15 minutes and usually the feeling passes. Even if the hunger remains, your stronger mind set will have returned and stop you buying the bad option, instead opting for a healthier option.

This can be a useful tool if you are trying to lose weight or get healthier. Just delay all urges that are driven by weakness (going for fatty food, ordering that unhealthy roll, having that coffee with sugar) and give your strong self the time to return to overrule the bad decision. Doing this gives you more strength and patience, and I’d say 9 out of 10 times the bad urge will pass. Don’t let a moment of weak thinking sabotage a day’s worth of effort, just simply delay the decision long enough for common sense or your positive mind set to return.

Life doesn’t owe you anything. It’s pretty simple, if you want what others have, you need to do what others do. Start taking Action!

It doesn’t make you weak to have these urges, we all have them. What makes you weak is if you truly believe that you don’t have the power to merely delay the bad action for a short time frame! That delay can be enough to change your course from a negative outcome to a positive outcome.

Hesitation can be truly costly but it can also help you overcome negative options, it is all about the situation in question.

When to act immediately:

  • When you have the urge to do something that will help you reach your goals
  • When you have a great idea
  • When you have a gut feeling that tells you to take action
  • When you have something good to say (good idea, compliments, encouragement)
  • When you feel that urge to exercise or take a healthier option
  • When you get that gut feeling to call someone
  • When you have something to say to help someone constructively

When to hesitate:

  • When in a moment of weakness you want to stuff your face
  • When you start heading for the couch when you know there is something else you should do first
  • When you have an urge that will damage your chances of reaching any of your goals
  • When you have something bad to say (complaining, moaning, fear mongering, nasty comments about others)
  • When you feel yourself reaching for your phone to look at social media to avoid doing a task
  • When you feel yourself going to react negatively to someone else’s poor behaviour
  • When in a low mood you think of joining in a negative conversation

If you feel that urge to write part of your book please open your computer and do it. If you feel that urge to get off the couch and do something useful and productive, stand yourself up and make a move to start, because if you don’t the feeling will pass! Get up and act as soon as the feeling arrives.

If you don’t act on your impulse, your urge, your gut feeling in the first 5 seconds it will pass. Whether that is a bad urge or a good urge, it WILL pass.

With this new knowledge you can decide what is worth immediate action and what will benefit you if you DO hesitate.

I hope this makes sense to you and I hope you find a way to use Action for Good and Hesitation against Bad.

Thanks for reading. If you have any feedback or comments I’d love to hear them.

Good luck and keep smiling.

Scott J

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4 thoughts on “Hesitation – Break it for Good / Harness it against Bad

  1. Inspiring read and food for thought, Scott. Loving the examples of how, in certain circumstances, hesitation can actually help you navigate away and overcome negative and unwanted outcomes. Will now carry the 5 second action and 15 minute hesitation rule around with me to help make better life choices.

    1. Thanks Hazel, got the inspiration for the post in work and thought it was worth sharing. The delaying bad decisions really works. Surprised I’ve never heard anyone share that idea before.

  2. Excellent read and fantastic advice Scott. Having made the effort over the last few months to hesitate for all the reasons you have listed I defintely feel more in control of my actions and able to identify when emotions would normally determine my response. A great reminder to continue and ensure I act with more haste when I get a positive ‘gut feeling’.

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