The Power of a Pause: A Slacker's Perspective
In negotiations, pauses in a conversation between the two parties play such an important part in determining the next move, in revealing the masterful and measured control of the negotiator, and in conveying the power shift of the one who rushes to break it.
Aside from their careers, most people are poor negotiators, neglecting the importance of implementing “pauses” in their strategy toward the personal areas of their lives. And this area is by far, a larger area than the world of work.
We prefer to “hit the ground running.” We feel that pull, that pressure to do something new, something big at the start of a new year. Search the web and you will find no shortage of articles on starting and keeping your New Year’s Resolutions including one of my own.
Click here to read.
I’m proposing that we look upon January with a new perspective. With less apprehension and less guilt, and more healing and reflection. Instead of looking at January as a jumping off point, see it as a “Catch Your Breath” month.
The overachiever among us might argue that was the purpose of December. Thank you kindly, for reminding me that I’m part of the Generation X aka the “slacker generation.”
January can be a great jumping off point. I will brook no argument here. But only after you’ve done the necessary mental clearing and reflection; otherwise, you are muddling your present with your unresolved past.
In studying habits of the American people (a truly informal process through my work and as an avid hobbyist of sociology and psychology over the course of 20 years), December, for these poor denizens, is far from meditative or reflective. December is the relentless drive to wrap up year-end work projects, angst-ridden visits to family, harried shopping for the perfect presents, the endless cooking and entertainment, and come the day after Christmas, the exhaustion.
Of course, this may only reflect my own plight but I believe a few of you reading this might raise your hands, confirming that I’m not alone in this. If that’s true, and that you’re in this camp, this post is very much for you.
Once again, I propose January be a “Catch Your Breath” month. While there are gifts that force us to say with all sincerity, “you shouldn’t have,” wouldn’t you agree that the one gift no one would turn down or return the very next day is the gift of time?
Interestingly enough, though we complain about not having enough free time, when we do have it, we substitute it for meaningless activity. In fact, some individuals are so uncomfortable with silence that it drove them to act in a manner you might find, well, rather shocking.
In O Magazine (December 2014), Life Coach Martha Beck, wrote about a study that gave test subjects a choice between sitting quietly for 15 minutes or pain from an electric shock. The pain comes from pushing a button. Two-thirds of the men and a quarter of the women chose “self-torture over sitting with their thoughts. One person pressed the button 190 times.” [Emphasis mine.]
Do this one thing today. Search hard on your calendar and see if you can replace any of your current appointments and activities with 15 minutes of free time where you can give yourself permission to do nothing. Nothing that is, except to catch your breath. In doing so, you might just find more energy to create moments that take your breath away.
On practicing stillness and being present, you may enjoy this post.