Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Power of Low-Risk Actions

Many people, especially if they've had long-term psychotherapy, ruminate excessively before making a decision. 

My career and personal coaching clients have found this advice helpful: Take a low-risk action. You'll more likely benefit from that than from additional rumination. Examples:

1. Wondering whether you're ready to start dating again? Hang out once at a place you're likely to meet your Mr. or Ms Right and see how you feel. You can always say no to an overture.

2. Not sure what career is right? Read the intro to many careers in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. News & World Report's Best Careers or Cool Careers for Dummies. (Bias alert: I wrote the latter two.) And/or just google the name of the career and the word "careers," for example, geologist careers.

3. Not sure you'd be better off if you stopped smoking? Abstain for a day or three. You can always go back to killing yourself.


Anonymous said...

Spot on. Thank you.

F.S. said...

I agree, and try to practice this. The phrase I use to describe this practice is "try it on." Like a garment, you can try on a new decision or activity. If it doesn't feel right or look good in the mirror, you can take it off and put back on what you were wearing before. The point, to me, is to get the decision out of your head and into your body -- that is, into the real world.

Grace said...

One way to approach those daunting tasks is tell yourself that you only need to work on the problem for 10 minutes. The risk is low because you give yourself an out - if you don't want to keep doing the task, it's OK because you only committed yourself for 10 minutes. However, the hardest part of a task is often just getting started and once you are on a roll, you keep on going. So, set that kitchen timer...


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