Get out of the impulse echo chamber

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Brian Kight

Every impulse feels justified. That’s what makes them hard to navigate.

Internally, it sounds like:

“Get it.”
“Eat it.”
“Say it.”
“Do it.”
“Skip it.”
“Deny it.”

An impulse doesn’t want you to consider the bigger picture. It wants all your attention on this moment only. An urge isn’t interested in you evaluating it. It wants you to use emotional justification rather than disciplined examination.

An impulse justifies the legitimacy of whatever it feels, regardless of whether it’s in your best interest or aligned with your purpose, values, and priorities. It just wants you to satisfy it. That’s what makes it an impulse. 

Unless you force yourself to get perspective from outside the echo chamber of what your impulses tell you, they will surround you and wear you down until you give in.

Perspective is the crucial discipline to bring good judgment to your impulses. Applying patience first opens the door for time and space to provide much-needed perspective to every impulse.

What is perspective?

  • Everything your impulse isn’t telling you.
  • Everything your impulse doesn’t want you to think about.
  • Everything your impulse attempts to downplay.
  • How you’ll think about this moment a year or five years from now.
  • What other reference points you need to consider, beyond how you feel, to make a good decision (values, goals, commitments, standards, priorities, etc).

Perspective can come from anywhere. It just needs to be beyond the echo chamber of your impulse. It may or may not affect your impulse. It may or may not change your decision.

The point is to force yourself to consider perspectives your impulse would prefer you never consider. If you expand your perspective, think about it carefully, and decide with discipline that the impulse is worth acting on, great!

Better to expand your perspective and confirm your feelings than not to broaden your perspective and make a poor decision because you didn’t break free of those reactionary feelings.

The time is now. Do the work.

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