Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Habits of the Mind—Managing Impulsivity

There is a big difference to my way of thinking between impulsivity and the phrase “carpe diem” credited to Horace in 23 BC.  This phrase, “carpe diem”, translates into “seize the day”.  In the film, Dead Poet’s Society, the professor John Keating encourages, “Seize the day, boys.  Make your life extraordinary.”  The notion of impulsivity on the other hand speaks to acting out of whim—with little or no forethought.  While “seize the day” is proactive, impulsivity is reactive and learning to live in a proactive state helps all of use accomplish our goals.
We often tell people when they are angry to “Stop.  Count to 10”.  This is good advice in helping us to learn to manage our impulsivity.  If we would just “stop” and consider we would be in better shape.  When we “act in haste” we often are required to “repent in leisure”.  For example, have you noticed how when you start to look for a new car it is easy to pick the car that attracts you only to find out after we’ve signed on the dotted line that we didn’t get the best deal or, even more distressing, picked the wrong car altogether.  It is so easy to feel that sense of urgency to act that we do not manage our impulsivity and regret the action almost immediately.
When you think about the decision we make, we tend to make those decisions based on emotions (which can certainly lead us to being impulsive) and then begin to rationalize that decision based on logic.  When we do this we are not managing impulsivity we are simply justifying it.  Learning to step back and consider will allow us and youth to be happier with our decisions.

Building relationships with others is one place we need to apply managing our impulsivity.  Getting to know a person well takes time.  Learn strategies for building strong relationships through Consult 4 Kids Virtual Education.  Check us out by logging into and beginning your journey by clicking on the icon on the top right-hand corner of the website.

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