What I Learned from a Near-Death Experience By Marshall Goldsmith...
A behavioral trigger is any stimulus that impacts our behavior.
Within this definition, there are six distinctions that will help improve our understanding of how triggers influence our behavior.
senses pick up on them, as well as our minds. Internal triggers come from our thoughts and feelings and are not connected with anything on the outside. Have you ever heard that “little inner voice”? That’s what I’m talking about here. It’s not prompted from the outside, but if it stimulates behavior, it’s as valid as any external prompt.
3. A trigger can be conscious or unconscious. Conscious triggers require awareness. Hot plate – withdraw hand! Unconscious triggers are beyond our awareness. Most people are oblivious to how much the weather influences their moods. Respondents to the question, “How happy are you?” claimed to be happier on a perfect weather day than respondents to the same question on nasty weather day.
4. A trigger can be anticipated or unexpected. Anticipated triggers are visible a mile away. For instance, we know right now that the National Anthem will be played at the Super Bowl next year. Unanticipated triggers take us by surprise, and often stimulate unfamiliar behavior, possibly even a drastic desire to change!
5. A trigger can be encouraging or discouraging. Encouraging triggers push us to maintain or expand what we are doing. They reinforce us – like the finish line for a marathon runner. Discouraging triggers push us to stop or reduce what we are doing. Chatting in a theater and hearing a barrage of “Shhh!” is one such discouraging trigger.
6.A trigger can be productive or counterproductive. This is an important distinction. Why? Because productive triggers push us toward becoming the person we want to be. Counterproductive triggers pull us away from that goal.
These six distinctions of behavioral triggers will help improve your understanding of how triggers influence your behavior.
Now it’s your turn. Try this exercise. It will make you smarter about specific behaviors you do every day and help you connect them directly to your behavioral successes and failures.
This little exercise will put you on the path to making every day your masterpiece, because no matter how extreme the circumstances, when it comes to our behavior we always have a choice to make it better!