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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Benefits of a pause

SERENITY - the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil; composure, peacefulness, peace. [Serenity week begins here. Click for this week's Bliss Initiatives.]

Since writing that I would been incorporating a Pause 1-2-3 experiment as one of my Bliss Initiatives for the week, I have been doing my best to pay attention to the times I react too quickly. I've noticed that I am generally pretty good when responding to something Jessie or one of her little friends may do. My mantra is "They are only two, why would they know anything else?" and it is easy to respond in a thoughtful way. I have found however that I do not give adults the same benefit. I almost never pause when I interact with Rob. Thankfully we are pretty well in sync with each other but any disagreements we do have would likely dissolve if I just took a moment before speaking. With my mom it is even worse, with her I am always ready to pounce on any word I find failing.

I have taken dozens of courses at Landmark Education and understand clearly that it is my listening that is at the root of these situations but I am still hard wired to strike at the slightest perceived wrong. On the rare occasion I do catch myself and take that pause it unalterably nets a good result. Given that outcome it seems odd that I still find it so difficult!

When working out complex issues a pause is an invaluable tool. "What happens during that pause is that someone is thinking about something they have not previously considered. They are putting the question in a context that combines their knowledge, opinion, belief and audience. A thoughtful answer will illuminate the question (and the respondent) to the questioner and bystanders...

 Socrates had it right. The "solution" to the resulting problems (people talking past each other and deadlock) is a greater respect for, and use of, the pause." From the blog "Environmental Economics" in a post entitled "A Pause for Thought" by David Zetland.

Geoff Sheehy in his blog A Teacher Writes, writes about the benefits of pausing for a novice in any field. "In my areas of expertise (teaching, reading, public speaking) I am able to think and act fairly simultaneously (though for the best thinking I must even then stop acting), but when I am not an expert, the action takes too much of my concentration to allow me to engage my mind in two places.
Enter the consideration of the student. By definition a student is not an expert in the content being studied. That means that a student likely is not able to think and act at the same time; if a student is to think, he or she will need time to stop, absorb, reflect, and realize." (Click to view the entire post entitled Time to Think)

The benefit of a pause is as obvious as the inability to pause appears to be a human condition. Nations have been struggling with the same things since the dawn of time. While it seems clear that the United States is not prone to great pauses it is encouraging to note that another country is doing so. Vir Saghvi a Mint Lounge columnist and the advisory editorial director of Hindustan Times (Click here for full article) India, writes with regard to their neighbor Pakistan, that India "learnt to hit pause before reacting" in 2008 following the Mumbai terror attacks. He says "If we went by American precedents, India would have no difficulty in offering a moral justification for an invasion of Pakistan...  we don’t rush into knee-jerk reactions. We worry instead about how prepared we are to face their hostility. And we react with coolness and calm. That, to me, is a major achievement—and 2008 is the year it happened."

A major achievement indeed!

Next Post: Visual Serenity

My 13 bliss virtues: joy, order, creativity, passion, whimsy, serenity, inquiry, community, romance, gratitude, moxie, humility, surprise
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Ben Franklin's 13 Virtues

  • 1. TEMPERANCE - Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
  • 2. SILENCE - Speak not what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
  • 3. ORDER - Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
  • 4. RESOLUTION - Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
  • 5. FRUGALITY - Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e. waste nothing.
  • 6. INDUSTRY - Lose no time; be always employ'd in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
  • 7. SINCERITY - Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and if you speak, speak accordingly.
  • 8. JUSTICE - Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
  • 9. MODERATION - Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
  • 10. CLEANLINESS - Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths or habitation.
  • 11. TRANQUILITY - Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
  • 12. CHASTITY - Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or to the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.
  • 13. HUMILITY - Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Benjamin Franklin Quotes

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