Four Seconds

I've been thinking a lot lately about consciously getting out of "reaction mode" and make more deliberate decisions.  We have this insane ability to respond to any of our life's situations and circumstances in any way we choose, but all too often we find ourselves feeling out of control.

I read the book, Four Seconds, by Peter Bregman this past summer.  The concept of the book is that it only takes four seconds to get out of reaction mode and put ourselves in control of our reactions and responses.  Bregman believes that by taking four seconds to breathe and center ourselves, we can effectively get the results that we want.

The book didn't make that big of an impact on me when I read it, but since then, this idea has come back to me again and again.  Four seconds is not a long time.  It's about how long it takes to take in and let out a breath, however, that breath really does enable us to regain control.

I've had the opportunity to test this theory of Bregman's in the last few weeks with some mixed results.  First, I realized that four seconds is not enough time for me to center myself.  I need around 16 seconds for me to feel fully in control about my reaction and response, longer if it's something really difficult.  However, once I take the time to get out of reaction mode, the results are far better than they would have been.  

I think that's one of the challenges today: Regaining our control.

We give so much of ourselves away to negative forces: Knee-jerk reactions, despair, hopelessness, destructive habits, comparison, negative thought patterns...  All these things steal our ability to act and create the true results that we want.  The problem is, once we fall into any one of those holes, it is often very difficult to get out.

While four seconds might be enough time to make a productive response in an unexpected conversation, some of these other problems take a considerable amount of intentional time to defeat.  Tomorrow we'll chat about Meditation and how you can implement the practice to overcome these more difficult challenges.  Until then, I encourage you to take four seconds, or sixteen, to help center yourself towards your desired results.