Jacky Leonard's blog

Archive entries for: Aug-2019

Have you got your finger on the trigger?

Categories:  Effective Communication, Being on purpose, Life Balance and Wellbeing

Change your behaviour and you change your world - (anon)


I consider myself a relatively sane, rational and tolerant human being. I have many examples of behaviour to back this up, yet it seems these characteristics fail me at the mere mention of the initials BT. I recently surprised myself at my speed of response from a calm, reasonable, grateful state, which I often occupy, to a semi crazed, frustrated sceptic.

Trigger (correspondence from BT), thought (oh no, what now?); Feeling (frustration, anger); instinctive response (grab my phone quicker than a gunfighter````` at the OK Corral and immediately call them to vent).

Then I paused...wow! What a reaction?

How can that happen? I had allowed myself no time to think, I stopped mid dial to process that and realised how easy our patterns of behaviour are developed, many without any conscious thought and little or no gap between a stimulus and your response.  I was experiencing the stress response of flight or fight, simply by receiving correspondence from an ex service provider.

Now, there’s a long history of wasted time and frustratingly poor service due to ineffective systems that I won’t go into here. Suffice to say, they have not been my communication company of choice for over 2 years. So how come they can still provoke such a quick, strong emotional response?

Learned behaviour is often hard to break.  You’ll have established patterns of unconscious actions or habits that generally work quite well for you, but at times may need to be challenged.  You’ve probably heard the old saying if you do the things you’ve always done, you’ll get the things you always got.  To get something different, you must do something different.

You will have triggers in your life, things that set a sequence of events in motion.  The ABC model can help you to understand challenging behaviour and develop suitable responses. 

A – Antecedent.  This is the thing that happens before the behaviour and what triggered it.

B – Behaviour.  This is what you actually did.

C – Consequence.  This is what happens after the behaviour.

Acknowledging your antecedents or triggers is a crucial first step in managing your response.  You have very little control over many things in your life and there will be a consequence to how you respond and react to situations that face you.  Identifying the controllables will help you manage yourself and your environment more effectively and better influence the other elements outside your direct control.

Here are the 3 things you can completely control, if you choose to…

  • What you think
  • What you feel
  • What you do

Seems simple, but sadly not always easy, because that gap between the stimulus and your response can often be small to non-existent.   So, here’s a thought…next time you feel yourself having a knee jerk reaction to an event or person’s behaviour try this.  Press the pause button, think about the trigger and decide whether what you’re doing is the best course of action. What strategies can you apply to help you avoid, minimise or take your finger off the trigger?

Rather than mind the gap, be mindful of it and see if you can extend it long enough to make more appropriate choices that result in better consequences.