What Are Your Triggers?



I frequently like to think about where I am in my life and the things I’ve done – and the things I would still like to accomplish in whatever time I have left here on this old planet.  A few mornings ago (I like to do this kind of thing in the morning with a big, hot cup of coffee) the question popped into my head, “What should I focus on next?”  Now I’ve been at this personal growth stuff long enough to know that it’s not particularly easy to conduct an honest self-evaluation.  The information has a tendency to get skewed because of our already built-in mental programming or filters.  Then I remembered a technique that can usually help point us in the right direction.  It’s one simple question.  “What’s your trigger?”  What do other people do or say that is bothersome to you – or even pisses you off completely?  What hits your hot button?


In less than three seconds, I had my answer.  My trigger is people making statements about a situation, event or concept which they present as 100 percent fact even though it is “obvious” they don’t know what they are talking about.  Hmmm, it looks like there is a whole bunch of information – for me especially – in that sentence, doesn’t it?


Part one:  Some time ago, a good friend – and boss – made the following observation.  “Sometimes when people don’t know what they’re talking about – it shows!”  Even though at the time he was referring to a co-worker, I also think it was a nice way for him to pass on a tidbit of important information to me too.  And he was absolutely right.  It can be a huge mistake to pass on erroneous information to any person or group of people who just may know more about the subject than we do.  Occasionally we do this simply because we really think we have all the pertinent information about a topic.  Once in a while though, we wind up “shooting from the hip” for one reason or another - and yes, often it is because our logic processes have provided us with what we feel is an accurate assumption.  At times, we can even become so damned cock-sure that our opinions are correct that nothing – absolutely nothing – any other person says or does will change our mind.  We’re right and that’s all there is to it!


Occasionally, we do it just so we can feel included – a contributing member of a group who is capable of conversing intelligently on the current subject.  “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.”  Yeah, there are also times when we tend to manipulate the information a bit so we can promote our own personal agenda and prompt our own desired outcome to a situation.


Sometimes we succeed in our efforts.  Sometimes we don’t.  The main variable in this of course, is that we never know who might be around that really will know more than we do about something.  Sort of puts this in the category of verbal Russian roulette, doesn’t it?


Part two:  Here’s where it gets downright personal.  I learned some time ago – or thought I did anyway – that the more information I’ve absorbed over the years, the dumber I’ve gotten.  It’s not that a whole bunch of the stuff that I thought I knew was completely incorrect.  It’s just that I’ve come to realize there’s always more to know, more to think about related to any given subject.  Details that I may not be aware of.  Other possibilities to consider.  What I write in my blogs and articles is only what I think I know right now.  It could be different tomorrow.


It’s good to be aware of this, right?  So why the hell then, when I’m talking with a family member about a particular subject, do I act as though I’m the world’s leading authority on this topic?  I become the resident friggin’ expert – as I shoot from the hip and sort of think there’s a reasonable level of accuracy in what I’m saying but have no way to prove any of it.  Nah, I don’t use this approach all the time.  Just often enough to be annoying to the both of us involved in the conversation.


Maybe I’m trying too hard to assume a leadership role.  Maybe I think that by being the perceived “authority” I can gain more respect (which of course, is so well deserved considering my vast accumulation of knowledge and abundance of wisdom).  Or maybe I’m just being a butt-head.  That’s probably more likely the case, huh?


Anyway, it’s something I need to work on.  I need to remember that when I express an opinion, it would be best if I specifically say “This is just my opinion…” – or “I’m not 100 percent certain about this, but it looks as though….”  Or maybe even “Beats the shit outta me – but here’s a possibility…”  I think this approach would make life a little easier for all of us.


So it looks like I have my next self improvement project all laid out.  What about you?  Just check your triggers…



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