I’m convinced everyone has a default response, a way of thinking that predisposes them to respond in certain ways. Sometimes these responses may be good, sometimes bad. But, I would bet you have default responses to many things. For example, we all know people that will say yes to anything you ask them. We also all know people that will say no to anything. Or, what about the guy that you know will see your email and his default response will be to ignore it and move on?
I’ll confess, I have a negative default response to email. At some point years ago I started to have an aversion to email, as if when I checked it, I would undoubtedly be greeted with a client yelling at me (by typing in ALL CAPPS). What is funny is that I have gotten maybe five angry emails in my 6+ years of having a company, but the default response is still there. So, knowing that is my default response I also know I must overcome it. That is why I clear out my inbox to zero every day, that way I cannot avoid email because I have created a habit that will not allow it.
I also have a default response toward action. If there is something that I recognize needs to be done, I do it. This is one of the reasons that my wife and I adopted. This is also one of the reasons that my to-do list can get much longer than it should be (when I take on tasks that my team should be instead). This default has positives and negatives. Knowing this is my default response, I’m able to temper those positives and negatives and use it to my advantage.
I think knowing your default response to things is critical. It’s the only way to know when you are making a decision for the right reasons rather than just the default ones. I think we all know that sometimes a default response is great, and sometimes it is tragic. The only way to tell the difference is to recognize it first, assess it, and then act in accordance with your values.