Ever been flooded with positive emotion in the moment when looking at buying the latest shoes … or are shoes something you need for the longer term, so it comes down to a tactical decision?
Whatever the case may be, every decision has a consequence … applying consequential thinking when making any decision is an Emotional Intelligence competency and it’s not just about shoes.
It’s worth considering that we all have a different level of competence in this area:
- If we are reactive, we may be impulsive and make quick decisions without considering what implications or impact our choices could have.
- Anyone making quick decisions may not recognise they even have a choice and that there may be other possible options to consider.
- At the other end of the spectrum are people who show caution, they are thoughtful and careful, looking at both the short term and long term impact of their choices. These people weigh up any decision with feelings and thinking together. They may verge on being unspontaneous or calculating and tend to overthink things.
So how do you apply consequential thinking effectively?
3 practices for building your muscle in consequential thinking
- Analyse and reflect
Assessing your decisions and their effects is key for managing your impulses and acting intentionally (rather than reacting). It’s a process of analysing and reflecting, using both thoughts and feelings … to identify a response that is optimal for yourself and others. The value is, it enables you to assess and plan for the emotional impact of your choices.
- Proactively pause in advance of acting
It is much better to apply consequential thinking before you take action. That requires a proactive pause upfront, instead of rushing headfirst into what might turn out to be a rash decision. Keep building a new habit of momentary pauses as a daily practice. Ask yourself at each micro pause: where is this going to go?
- Evaluate, weigh up and assess
Every choice has both costs and benefits. Develop your own simple process for thinking through any decision. Assess the short/ long term, cost/benefit, tactical/emotional, and self/others impacts. Most importantly don’t overthink it to the point of paralysis.
Stop, look and act is a wise approach to using emotional intelligence when making decisions. Look out for more upcoming posts in this EQ Series.
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