art work by John Ceprano
CINERGY (tm) - Peacebuilding... one person at a time

Split Second Reaction

If you read the great book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – or even if you didn’t – you will undoubtedly understand the concept of first impressions – whether they are immediate reactions to tastes, sounds, words and other stimuli.

As a noun, the expression “split second” may be defined as: “1. an extremely small period of time; instant 2. made or arrived at in an infinitely short time – split-second decision 3. depending upon minute precision – split-second timing.”

This phenomenon and term may also apply to what initiates our interpersonal conflicts. That is, things that people say or do to which we quickly react – in a split second – seemingly without thought. At these times the common tendency is to let our emotions lead us. Our amygdala is hijacked, as Daniel Goleman says (Emotional Intelligence).

Unfortunately, split second reactions can get us into trouble. Once we blurt out our emotional response, things can quickly escalate. Sometimes we cannot reign ourselves in and words – we later regret – spill out. We make quick judgments and assumptions that may be incorrect; historical unresolved (or even resolved) conflicts might get raised; and we often go to blame and other negative places.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites you to contemplate a dispute when you had a split second reaction.

  • What did the other person say or do to which you had a split second reaction?
  • What did you say or do in your reaction?
  • What were you experiencing emotionally at that time?
  • What did you assume about the other person’s reasons for what she or he said or did?
  • What do you know for sure was correct about your assumption(s)? What wasn’t?
  • What were the consequences of reacting so quickly?
  • Considering the definition of “split second” and the notion of quick reactions, what most resonates about how you reacted?
  • In what ways do you think your “split second” reaction was warranted?
  • What did you discover – after you reacted – that indicated that your “split second” reaction was not warranted?
  • How might you have stopped yourself from reacting?
  • What got in your way of stopping yourself?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

This entry was posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching, Reactions. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Split Second Reaction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *