I have a question for you:
Do you take enough time before making major decisions?
Deepak Chopra said: "To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions".
His message is clear, give yourself space and time before making important decisions. By doing so you can obtain the wisdom required to feel confident in your choices.
Wisdom can be characterised as the ability to make smart decisions based on knowledge and experience. It includes taking into account long-term considerations and consequences, as well as postponing immediate satisfaction.
Sadly, Chopra's advice falls on deaf ears for many human beings. Far too often, people make impulsive choices that significantly impact not just their own lives, but the lives of their loved ones.
It's interesting to observe how some human beings make impulsive decisions, while others take the necessary time to weigh things up.
For example, some people will only have one inspection of a home that they're interested in buying before making an offer. Others will walk through the property several times and even bring building surveyors along, before they are willing to make a purchase.
Perhaps a more common example can be seen in relationships. Some men and women will rush into a marriage after dating for a couple of months, while others get to know their partner for a couple of years. Those that give themselves some extra time can make a more informed decision on how their loved one may react in the variety of situations that life can throw at us.
We're taught about the dangers of impulsivity from a young age. When we read Aesop's fable in kindergarten, we learn that the tortoise beats the hare because 'slow and steady wins the race'. As we approach Primary school, our parents reiterate this message by telling us that "patience is a virtue". Finally, as we finish High School, our careers advisors encourage us to do our 'due diligence' before making decisions about what to study at university.
The common lesson in all of these stages of growing up is that a bit of extra time provides us with knowledge, insight and stability.
So with all of that in mind: Why do so many adults continue to make impulsive decisions?
In most cases the answer to that question is 'Anxiety'.
Anxiety is a condition that is generally characterised by 'over thinking', so the idea that it creates impulsivity may sound a little surprising. But there are actually many things that anxiety does that can make a person more impulsive.
For example, anxiety can create desperation which frequently takes control over the way a person feels. A person who is desperate for something to occur will often make poor decisions without thinking through the possible consequences. To put it simply their extreme yearning for a particular outcome can lead to a loss of perspective and a failure to look at the big picture.
It's important to note that not all impulsive decisions are bad. Waking up and suddenly popping outside for a jog, or spontaneously deciding to learn a new language, are positive choices that can come from impulsivity.
But significant life choices like your career, location and future spouse require perspective, thought and most importantly...time.
If you have an urge to tick any of the major boxes in your life as quickly as possible, it may be worthwhile speaking with a professional who can assist you in the process of self exploration. They can work with you to ascertain exactly why you feel the need to 'rush in'.
Aesops was on to something - slow and steady wins the race. If you eat too fast you get indigestion, if you drive too fast you have accidents, if you rush into making big life decisions you open yourself up to a plethora of unnecessary risks.