I’m a very slow thinker.
I often have conversations where, after listening to the other person I couldn’t think of what to say as a response.
I sometimes force myself to think of a response and it often results in a disaster.
I say something silly or absurd. I sometimes hurt the feelings of the other person or strongly offend someone.
In some situations, I say something that puts me at a disadvantage. An example would be buying impulsively, not negotiating. Being unable to say no and so on.
I often have the appropriate response, days, weeks and sometimes months after the conversation.
This discovery brings to my attention my tendency to debate and embarrassingly, aggressively argue with people with points of view that I’m unfamiliar with or disagree with. I’m insensitive, stubborn and I don’t give up.
This is not a good combination.
I put in a lot of effort into being polite and to use appropriate words in the situation but some moments cause me react to flow with emotions and I lose control over what I say.
In terms of accepting new projects I also notice that I’m a slow learner. It takes me a while to pick up the task and I often make a lot of mistakes at the beginning. Despite that, I’m patient enought to put in the time and effort to study and practice until mastery.
That said, I know for a fact that buying something and accepting a project will cost a significant amount of resources on my end.
Now that I’m aware of my situation I’m setting up some rules so I don’t fall victim to my own bad habits and to form good habits.
How to address impulse buys:
If I need to make a decision now, the answer will be no by default. If they insist, then it’s probably not a good deal for the both of us.
Self talk: I didn’t consider the need for or advantage of what was being offered prior to the offer so I can make do without it.
Purchases require a few weeks to 30 days if above $100.
Note: I previously had a partner who had to decide for my purchases. I don’t have one right now so I make do with the rule. I’m uncomfortable oversharing every purchase that I’m considering with just anyone.
I recently bough a second hand iPhone for a good 20-30% less than market value. What I didn’t know was the phone has a defect that makes it run on maximum power consumption even if the screen is off. I tried to get it repaired. The repair guy was only able to partially remedy the situation. It’s one of the most frustrating weeks of my October. After counting the cost of the inconvenience, I came to the conclusion that I could have paid a little extra and could easily afford a brand new iPhone. I swore I’ll never buy second hand from an unknown seller.
Self Talk: Not every advantage will work to my advantage because the sequence of accumulating advantages is equally important as the advantage itself.
How to address time consuming activities
Say no because of current commitments. People will say it’s something you can do on the side and can complement what you’re doing but often, that’s not the truth.
An example would be learning an important skill before landing a job that requires said skill.
How to address heated arguments:
I’m not really the best person to ask or discuss with on the topic. I can read more about what you’re trying to say and discuss this with you at another time if schedule permits. Are there any specific points that you want me to spend more time on?
Projects that are not profitable not fun
At the moment, I’m currently busy with client work (I usually am) and I’ll need ample time to consider your offer. Some factors that I include in project would be the time investment, both official and shadow work, transportation and prep costs.
Backing out is a good thing
I also recommend evaluating your to do list, daily, weekly and monthly activities.
Just write down a long list of everything that you do and identify the 20% that are bringing you joy and profit and the other 20% that are bringing you unhappiness.
Spend time on what makes you happy and less time on what makes you unhappy.
This post is inspired by Derek Sivers who already wrote about slow thinking.