Leading Blog






08.20.07

The Power of Thinking Twice

Human freedom involves our capacity to pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight.
—Rollo May
Responsibility at Work
Les Parrott claims that “three seconds separate those who ‘give it their all’ from those who ‘don’t give it a thought’ — literally. Three seconds. This brief buffer is all that stands between those who settle for ‘whatever’ and those who settle for nothing less than ‘whatever it takes.’”

In his book, 3 Seconds: The Power of Thinking Twice, he presents six impulses that never pay off. The impulse to …

Give up before trying . . . because we feel helpless.
Shun a challenge . . . because it seems daunting.
Settle for the status quo . . . because we lack vision.
Shirk responsibility . . . because it’s easier to shift blame.
Do the mere minimum . . . because that’s all that’s expected.
Avoid taking action . . . because we fear failure.

If we routinely don’t give any one of these a second thought, they can lead us to lives of mediocrity. From Parrott’s perspective, it comes down to taking a moment to leverage the three seconds it takes to decide whether to behave in a manner consistent with what you really want or to give in to one of these self-sabotaging impulses.

Fundamental to all of this is taking personal responsibility. “And many times, you have to shoulder the blame, not because you personally did anything wrong, but on behalf of the company. The best way to do this us to focus not on who’s wrong, but on what’s wrong.”

Taking ownership for something often involves an apology. But a simple “I’m sorry” will sound hollow unless you’ve taken the three elements of an apology into account. First, you’ve got to understand what’s wrong. Get what’s wrong right. Second, you then have to admit to it. “Don’t make anyone drag an admission of what’s wrong out of you.” Finally, you need to rectify the situation. You need to do something to try to make the situation better. I would add that not all wrongs can be righted. Nor should we expect them to be. It is a very inward-directed individual that always demands their pound-of-flesh.

Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:08 AM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Books , Personal Development



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