Conversation instead of combat. 

The magic of the 10-second rule

When you are communicating with another person and you have a sharp disagreement, emotions start to rise pretty quickly. This is when the 10-second rule comes in. It can dramatically change any conversation for the better.

It’s really quite simple: In any conversation during which the temperature has started to rise, wait 10 seconds before you respond. Just stop. Don’t respond immediately. Instead, wait and give yourself a moment to be intentional in your response, instead of emotional. It works almost like magic.

What the 10-second rule does

The magic of the 10-second rule

It freezes the crazy cycle.

The crazy cycle is what happens when we are offended or frustrated and respond negatively in an effort to get another person to change. They, in turn, are frustrated and offended and respond negatively. The whole thing usually escalates pretty quickly, and suddenly you’re not communicating, you’re in combat.

By taking 10 seconds to stop and collect your thoughts and emotions before you respond, you freeze the crazy cycle in place and have an opportunity to respond differently from how you might have otherwise. Sometimes, taking a few deep breaths is all you need.

It disarms the conversation.

The magic of the 10-second rule

While you’re taking 10 seconds, something interesting happens. The other person in the conversation is also snapped out of the cycle. The temporary pause is incredibly disarming as it is often unexpected.

When people get offended, they tend to punch back. That’s what people expect, and it fuels the crazy cycle.

On the other hand, when you stop feeding a negative response into the cycle, the other person also has time to collect their thoughts and reflect on your response. That means you can actually have a conversation instead of combat.

It changes the focus from topics to persons.

Finally, taking a 10 seconds pause before you respond gives you a chance to refocus on the person you’re communicating with, not just the topic.

Even if you passionately disagree about a topic, reminding yourself that you’re on the same side can go a long way.

It is powerful when you take a breath and think through your response instead of doing so emotionally and out of frustration.

What a difference 10 seconds can make.



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