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Everybody Needs So Much Time to Cool Off, But At Least We Know About It

Thursday February 17, 2022

I was discussing this with a valued business partner the other day.

“When do you think I should send this email?”

“Yeah, I think you should wait, send it after the weekend.”

“Me too, probably even send it in the morning. Otherwise they’ll make a silly decision like they did before.”

We know it, they know it, we even joke about it together.

No blame. It’s a known feature & bug with humanity. At least, now it is known, to me. I never really acted like I knew about it when I was younger, and I regret that for sure.

I personally sent some business nasty-grams that were really bad. Justified in this or that way, but I would rewrite those in a second if I could.

But I also sent business normal-grams at times that were convenient to me, and that turned out to be really dumb in a lot of cases. The emotional issue wasn’t on my end, it was more like an awareness issue on my end plus an emotional issue on theirs.

This need for cooling off is such a great human thing to know about. It made me think about my other personal cooling-off periods:

  • If there’s a problem I learn about and it pisses me off, I write a draft message now, and then edit & send later.
  • If there’s a new thing I learn about and it gets me excited in a good way, the same applies to any notes I’m taking about it. I find SO MUCH ALL CAPS in those notes.
  • If I’m shopping for things that are available as limited-time deals, I always note the deal expiration date and come back later after the emotions have cooled off. Knowing the expiration date is a really nice advantage when shopping for deals. When I’m cooled off, I am better prepared to decide—do I need the whole deal, or just part? And so on.


I do have some personal corollaries to this. For example:

  • If it’s a casual blog post, publish it and then edit down the emotions later if you need to. The risk of not posting at all is higher than the risk of some casual blog post causing alarming issues.

(This is tongue in cheek, but I think there are plenty of situations where cooling off is important, but you have to figure out how the cooling works best for you.)

Building a Perceptive Superpower

It can also be helpful to know about this for other reasons.

Sometimes you hear people say, “ah it’s depressing to learn too much,” but I’d always rather have the awareness, especially if I can execute on it. (Yeah, awareness alone can feel very depressing—always attempt to execute on your perceptions)

After you do this for a while, which is the same as saying “after you pay attention to this new set of perspectives for a while”, you can start to gain something that may even feel like a perceptive superpower:

  • You can probably deal with stressful problems with more resilience and creativity.
  • You know when and how to avoid raising the stakes for most situations. Raising the stakes is really dumb with very few exceptions.
  • Still, you start to understand when and how to raise the stakes, if you ever need to.

You do have to take an executive standpoint on all this. You have to put it to use. But that’s fine with me.

I really like it when this happens—you start to notice how a thing works, then you get some ideas for making the thing better, and pretty soon your stress levels go down, because you’re human (weaknesses) but you’re also human (strengths)!

Filed in: Relationships /78/ | People /72/ | Control /110/ | Feeling /64/

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