"The key question of the 21st century is not whether you are on the left or on the right, but whether you are open or closed. This applies to nations, firms, institutions and individuals. To be closed is simple and perhaps a visceral human reaction. To be open is a much greater challenge"
- Jean-Pierre Lehmann
Professor Emeritus of International Political Economy at IMD
It is only natural to respond to a threat or challenge in a defensive way. That's perfectly normal. However, having an emotional response to new information and opportunities and then not engaging with the new and emerging reality because you just don't 'feel' comfortable is hardly an example of mature thinking and behaviour.
Check in with our feelings can give us a real insight into the challenge to remain open. What winds you up and makes you want to do one of the following?
- Fight (get defensive and fight your corner, opinion and belief at whatever cost)
- Flight (seek to leave the situation as quickly as possible)
- Freeze (you are unable to think clearly or even recall basic facts)
- Flock (go and complain to people that see the world like you that you are right and the rest of the world is wrong)
Whatever your response to the threat take a breath (really, it works) and consciously choose your response.
Now, your response might still be to get angry or walk away or go and complain. However, by consciously checking in and choosing your response you will, over time, create a pattern in your thinking and behaviour. This is a positive pattern, one that creates less stress and maintains an open life-state where problems can be resolved faster with less pain to yourself and others.
Creating environments where people feel safe to be open to express their thoughts and feelings honestly and openly, is at the heart of any change process.
So, remember ‘check’ your reaction and take that breath....