Whether we choose to admit it or not, we all have unique ways in which we respond to situations. We all have a certain reflex.
In psychology, ‘reflex’ is defined as an unlearned or instinctive response to a stimulus.
In most cases, our reflexes are instinctive – we flinch or wince when surprised or in the presence of pain – but in many other cases they’ve become something we’ve crafted intentionally.
I could list (and yes, it would be a long list) the many situations where my reflex to a particular situation is less than exemplary. If you’re truly honest with yourself, you’d probably say the same thing. The challenge for all of us is train ourselves to let go of our “go-to” reflexes and be willing to experience the situation in a different way.
- If, in the context of a meeting, your reflex is to blow off any comments by a colleague with a “roll of the eyes” and an internal monologue that screams “here we go again”, challenge yourself to change that reflex and be open to the possibility that his/her contribution, in this moment, is exactly what is needed.
- If your reflex is to always share “unfiltered” comments and opinions when someone disagrees with your point of view, challenge yourself to remain open to the possibility that you might gain a better perspective on the situation if you just listen.
- If your reflex is to always question your ability to do something or give credence to the negative self-talk that goes on in your own mind, challenge yourself to change your reflex and give voice to the opposite.
Changing our reflex won’t be easy, but I’m convinced that it can be done. I can think of two situations today where choosing to change my reflex would have served me and the situation much better. A work in progress I continue to be …
What reflex will you try to change?
Be well and make it a great day!