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The Power of the Pause

It’s no secret – too many of us are running the proverbial hundred miles an hour. I’m still waiting to meet someone who says, “you know, I’m not very busy; I have plenty of spare time.” That person doesn’t exist.

And yet counselors, therapists, Facebook posts – all tout the need for us to pause. We’re told to find ways to slow down. The age-old saying goes “stop and smell the roses.” It’s Spring time so it’s an ideal time to do just that. But will we?

My guess is that most of us won’t pause – won’t slow down. There’s FOMO – fear of missing out. There are deadlines; multiple commitments; track meets to make; dishwashers to unload (who hates that task as much as me???!!). How about getting up 10, 15 or 20 minutes earlier to enjoy slow-down time? Nice idea but too many of us are working on reduced sleep anyway.

I’m suggesting micro-pauses – a three to five second pause before hitting send on a tweet, text, or email. Or how about a five second pause before addressing the question posed to you by a loved one, colleague, or friend? I dare say we all have five second increments during our days.

For a long time we’ve been pre-programming to react. Consider even weekend athletes – fast reaction time helps improve performance. Our digital age creates the desire – no, actually it’s more like a demand – for instantaneous connectivity. When we touch the screen on our devices, we expect split second results, right? Rarely to we consider taking a breath before we react.

The Power of the Pause helps us respond – instead of react. Responsiveness connotes mindfulness and thoughtfulness. Reaction is more knee-jerk and fear based. How about this pause: the next time you’re right behind the person first in line at the traffic light and they don’t accelerate the instant the light turns green – pause before honking. How long will your pause be – two seconds, three, four . . .?

In my Toastmasters club we learn the power of the pause when giving speeches. A three or four second pause to the speaker may feel like three or four minutes. Yet that pause creates anticipation and positive energy. It’s such an effective too.

Practice your Power of the Pause today. Just three to five seconds during the day. The results are amazing.

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