Taking action Ask Dr. G
Written by Doctor G

Taking Action is Hard.


Did you know that our brains hate action? It’s true. Here’s an example you may have experienced yourself. Imagine you’re at a work conference in a hotel ballroom, a new-to-you location with a few colleagues and a lot of strangers. The fire alarm goes off in the middle of a seminar. Does everyone immediately stand, gather their things and move toward the exits? Nope. People stay seated, look around and wait.

And when, in several studies, there is a smell of smoke, more than half of people… still wait.Our brains try to convince us that taking action – getting up, taking our stuff and leaving the building – is somehow MORE DANGEROUS than waiting to watch the development of a possible structure fire from the inside.

This is not because we’re “perfectionists” who don’t want to do anything until we’re sure it’s exactly right. It’s because, as we’ve talked about here before, our brains fear change. 

So the next time you are considering taking action and your instinct is to hold back – be a little curious. Is my “gut” (it’s not your gut it’s your brain) telling me to hold off because I subconsciously know something I haven’t admitted to myself yet? OR is it just possible that action IS safer in this case but my brain is worried about change because it’s always worried about change because that’s its job?

Is there an action you’ve been avoiding? When you reason it through is it actually safer to take that action than avoid it? Comment and let me know.

All my best,
Dr. G

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