I'm sure you've heard the expression, "Have you got a second?" It's often used when someone wants our attention so they say, "Hey, have you got a second?"
But what does "Have you got 4 seconds" mean? And why is it
crucial in avoiding a confrontational conversation. It's crucial because research has discovered that we are 5x more likely to make the right decision when we take time to think about it, even when it's as little as 4 seconds!
Has it ever happened to you where someone says, "hey, have
you got a second, there's something on my mind I need to talk to you about," and then they immediately begin to yell and blame you for something the
y feel is your fault. This could be your boss, supervisor, co-worker, customer or life partner that just needs a "second" of your time.
Let's call this stage 1: The EVENT
Now when you're under an attack such as this, a part of your brain, hard wired to protect you, goes into full alert against what it perceives as a threat against you, elevating your emotions. And in this primitive, fearful state you're no longer thinking intelligently, you're only reacting, protecting yourself.
This is stage 2: The REACTION
And for many of us our immediate REACTION is to retaliate, to volley a counter attack to protect ourselves, and before we know it we've entered into an unwanted and unproductive confrontational conversation.
Science calls this the Amygdala hijack because it's this protective part of our brain that takes over when it perceives a threat. And at this lower, primitive level of the brain there is no higher level thinking going on just reacting.
But the good news is we have the capacity to change this and 4 seconds is all it takes.
This brings us to stage 3: The OUTCOME
Every day we encounter many EVENTS and, of course, we'll have a REACTION to each of them, and fortunately we have the capacity to change how we REACT to the EVENT to produce more of the OUTCOME we want.
Remember, research has proven that by taking just a few extra seconds to think about our reaction we are 5x more likely to make the right decision therefore getting the outcome we want.
> REACTION > OUTCOME
Here's how. The Amygdala lives in the lower primitive brain and is first to become alerted when we feel threatened. What's key about the Amygdala is that it is where fear is manifested reducing our capacity to see past the threat. We are in fight or flight mode here. But thankfully the signal doesn't have to stop there. We have the capacity to open a gate and allow the EVENT's signal to move past the Amygdala up the chain to our higher level functioning brain called the Prefrontal Cortex. This is where we have access to high level insight giving us the option to choose multiple different OUTCOMES and various possibilities for how we want to REACT differently to the EVENT.
Let's go back to the original scenario now: Someone says "Hey have you got a second" and begins to unload. Instead of immediately REACTING you pause .......for 4 seconds...... and use the time to breathe and to ask yourself a question.
What is the best way for me to respond to create the OUTCOME that I want to this event?
Science has proven that by taking these short 4 seconds to think, breathe and ask yourself how you want to REACT allows you to re-route the EVENT message to your higher level functioning brain where you can choose a different way to REACT, so you can produce a more positive and favorable OUTCOME.
Don't believe me, try this: Ask someone to repeat the word "Silk" 20 times out loud as fast as they can, and I mean as fast as they can, and then immediately, and I mean immediately, have them answer the question, "what does a cow drink?" Give them no time to think.
Most people when answering immediately without any time to think will reply with Milk. And Milk, of course, is incorrect. Cows don't drink milk. They drink water and then turn it into milk.
Ask someone else to do the same exercise but slow things down and give them 4 seconds to ponder the question before responding, and they'll more often choose water
as their answer.
Remember we are 5x more likely to make the right decision when we take time to think about it, even when it's as little as 4 seconds!
We live in a fast paced, instant access to information, world which, can make us feel like we have to be as fast as a computer and respond immediately. No we don't. We Need To Lead a Different Revolution. We need to Be Pace Setters by Slowing The Pace Down and thinking before REACTING.
Be a Leader. Slow down and watch how quickly things around you improve.
So when someone says, "hey have you got a second" you can reply "Nope, I have 4!"
That will really mess them up ...........................for the better!
Want to learn more practical and relevant tips on how to improve your communication? Attend my next "Communicate for Success" course Saturday November 19th; details below on how to register