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A Simple Pause Holds More Power than You Think

Have you ever found power in silence during a conversation?

If your experience is like mine, I’m sure you have. What emerges from the silence can be surprising, unexpected, and sometimes profound. 

Even the experience alone can have a palpable impact on those who witness it.

When we pause, we create a space that allows a response to manifest itself beyond our mind and continuous thinking. 

This is the space beyond boundaries from which all things new and innovative come. This realization struck me during a recent online interaction.

“We need to create a space for a response to manifest itself,” says Raimund Laqua. This profound statement came from my interaction with Raimund on LinkedIn this past weekend. My connection with Raimund began when I encountered a post by David McLean on LinkedIn. 

David, a LinkedIn Top Voice in Company Culture, put forth the idea that a 90-second pause is the difference between a reaction and a response:

Is a 90-second pause realistic?

While David’s 90-second pause is excellent advice and a powerful technique to apply in your life and work daily, I was reminded of my own experience in all my efforts to inject a pause into my responses. 

Frankly, I’m skeptical that anyone or very few can adopt this mantra and pause even a few nanoseconds, let alone 90 seconds, in our everyday lives and work in today’s world.

It’s not about the duration of the pause but the quality of awareness during it.

Here’s the comment I left on David’s post, shedding light on my experience and suggesting an alternative approach:

“Viktor Frankl, the renowned neurologist, and psychiatrist, emphasized the value of finding meaning in all forms of existence. His wisdom offers valuable insight into the importance of cultivating awareness before reacting impulsively. 

However, its practicality can be questioned in today’s rapidly changing business landscape, where efficiency is often prioritized. Personally, I acknowledge that waiting for a full 90 seconds might be challenging. 

The essential point here is to help individuals awaken to the continuous stream of thoughts and emotions within them. Many people haven’t been taught how to do this or aren’t aware it’s an option. 

By observing these thoughts and emotions without immediate judgment or identification, we can transcend the ego’s grip and become more conscious in shaping our responses.”

What are your thoughts on the power of pausing? Have you found value in taking a moment before responding? 

Please share your experiences by leaving a comment on this post.

— Bill

Bill Fox, Founder @ LeaderONE, SpaceB, and Forward Thinking Workplaces