Monday, November 8, 2010

Bad Decision Blocker: Tempering the Temper Temptation

Writing about the endangered art of letter writing, Kate Bolick concludes that one of the great losses is the time lapse. That is, the time between penning your temper tantrum, and sending it. The presumption is that you can change your mind while writing, or perhaps before you get it stamped and mailed. Thus, the letter is a bad decision blocker.

Acknowledging your doubt about self-control is honest and useful. That’s why good dieters don’t have junk food in the house if they’re trying not to eat it. Why tempt yourself? Grocery shop with a list and don’t shop when hungry are other ways to temper temptation.

When it comes to anger, you must identify whether or not you’re an impulse complainer or temper tantrum tell-all. Once you know you are, you can temper your emailing or other electronic communications. I often write things on the computer and put them in drafts while deciding whether to send. Or sometimes, like a journal, I write them without intending to send.

Tempering your temper involves identifying and acknowledging your difficulty with self-control in particular situations. Don’t allow these things to be present in your environment if possible. You can’t always manage that, but often you can. But like shopping while hungry, don’t go in difficult situations when already teetering on the edge. It’s your internal bad decision blocker. For example, don’t start a conversation that you know will involve conflict when you’re in a hurry or feeling stressed out; it’s obviously going to add to your stress, and you won’t take the time to be careful in your choice of words, to listen, to be empathetic. Don’t send an email when you’re upset. Wait until you have a chance to cool down and think it over. Don’t ask your boss for the raise when you’ve just had an argument with your 17 year old (or 47 year old).

Let’s face it though, we’re not getting rid of texting or email anytime soon. So I do love the idea of the iPhone app Bad Decision Blocker. When you absolutely, positively are not sure you can refrain, the app does it for you.

Mood music:  Temptation, Tom Waits

No comments: