April 8

Ignorance is NOT bliss

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Recognize Patterns in the Six Seconds model of emotional intelligence is a core competency of self-awareness. It refers to the ability to identify and understand frequently recurring reactions and behaviors. This skill is essential in becoming more aware of oneself, leading to improved emotional literacy.

A common example I use to describe Recognize Patterns is this:

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you realize that you are acting on habit rather than thought? That could be having the same conversation with someone that you have had numerous times in the past. It is likely about a certain topic where both of you are operating from a patterned response, not thoughtful consideration. That may be due to your beliefs and values, something you and/or they are not willing to compromise, so you default to using the same "pattern" in your interaction.

It could also be that you notice when you are under pressure or have significant stress, you fall into a pattern to find relief. That pattern may or may not be healthy or profitable, but at some point in the past, it has provided a type of reward, which is why the pattern has become stronger over time. Every time we allow a pattern to continue, we essentially reinforce it.

 We will look at both patterns and habits to see what they are and how they connect, starting with exploring patterns.

Impact on Life and Work:

Recognizing patterns is crucial for developing self-awareness. It involves understanding one's own habitual reactions and the triggers behind them. By recognizing emotional and behavioral patterns, individuals can better regulate their emotions, leading to more effective communication and decision-making. In the workplace, this competency helps in understanding personal strengths and weaknesses, improving teamwork, leadership, and adaptability to changing circumstances.

Developing the ability to recognize patterns enables individuals to break negative cycles and foster positive changes, contributing to overall personal growth. This skill aids in understanding not only one’s own behaviors but also others', which is crucial for building and maintaining healthy relationships. Recognizing and adjusting patterns can lead to improved performance and productivity at work by aligning behaviors with goals and values. In essence, recognizing patterns is a vital aspect of emotional intelligence that significantly influences personal development, interpersonal relationships, and professional success.

Patterns and habits, while often used interchangeably, have nuanced differences. Understanding these distinctions can help us develop more effective strategies for personal and professional development.

Connecting Patterns & Habits

We have already explored Recognize Patterns as a competency, but going deeper will help us to gain clarity on how to change patterns. Patterns are often unconscious and can be deeply ingrained in our psyche. Patterns are formed through a specific sequence: thought occurs > we attach meaning to the thought > emotions are generated > decision are made > actions are taken.

Habits, on the other hand, are routines of behavior that are repeated regularly and tend to occur subconsciously. While patterns are broader and can encompass thoughts or emotional responses, habits are more specific, usually pertaining to actions. Both are formed through repetition and can become automatic responses to certain stimuli or situations.

The focus on both patterns and habits allows us to better understand what drives the formation and reinforcement of our habits, the actions we take with little thought. As much as 43% of our daily actions are driven by habits.

Habits are initially formed when a specific course of action provides a reward. That reward drives the formation and reinforcement of our habits. That does not take into account the long-term impact our habits have on us. Are they helping or hurting us?

Using the Two Story model of habit formation, we can better understand the specific flow of how habits come into being.

Cue: Trigger (Direct/Indirect)
Predict: Expected outcome based on the cue
Act: Action taken based on the cue
Reinforce: Reward or consequence

The Impact of Patterns/Habits

Negative patterns or counterproductive habits can have several detrimental effects. They can lead to stagnation, reduced productivity, impact mental and physical health negatively, and create barriers to personal growth. For instance, counterproductive habits can lead to chronic stress and underachievement.

Conversely, positive patterns and productive habits can significantly enhance our lives. They can improve efficiency, boost health and well-being, and foster personal and professional growth. A habit of daily exercise (Attend in the Habit Story assessment), for instance, has far-reaching benefits for physical and mental health.

Changing Patterns & Habits

To change our patterns and our habits, there are specific things we can do to enhance our potential for success:

  • Awareness: Recognize existing patterns and habits. This involves being mindful of our behaviors and thoughts.
  • Understanding the Triggers: Identify what triggers the pattern or habit. It could be an emotional state, a particular time of day, or a specific environment.
  • Setting Clear Goals: Define what you want to achieve by changing the pattern or habit. Be specific about what the new pattern or habit should look like.
  • Creating a Plan: Develop a step-by-step plan to replace the old pattern or habit with a new, more beneficial one.
  •  Seeking Support and Accountability: Surround yourself with people who support your goals and hold you accountable.

Recognizing Patterns is a critical skill. A focus on our habits can provide clues as to which habits are helpful and which are holding us back. That insight provides clarity on which habits we want to change. That provides insight into what the pattern is and what triggers it. This allows us to be proactive in transforming our patterns and habits to enhance our success and satisfaction in life and work.

Copyright © 2024 EQFIT® - Author: Steven Goodner. All rights reserved. No portion of this material may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author, except as permitted by U.S. copyright law. For permissions contact: info@gscfit.com.


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