Executive educator and coach Marshall Goldsmith would be the first to say that changing adult behavior isn’t easy. We adults are notoriously bad at it, he says. So how do we get better? The first step to a behavioral makeover is to recognize and understand the psychological and emotional triggers that set us off and lead to impatience, rancor, annoyance, anger or something worse. While the number of potential triggers is inestimable, Goldsmith believes that our environment “is the most potent triggering mechanism in our lives” and that even a small tweak in our physical environment (such as lowering the temperature or noise level in a room) can enable a significant change in our behavior within that environment. Permanently changing behavior is “one of the hardest things” to accomplish, Goldsmith says, which is why we should be patient with ourselves and approach change in small increments, knowing that daily practice will eventually lead to success.
We should also give ourselves credit for our efforts. Trying shouldn’t be “the condolence message we send ourselves when we fail,” he writes. In Triggers, Goldsmith gently, decisively walks readers through the change process, providing tips and exercises to help us slowly but surely manage our triggers and become the person each of us wants to be.
by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
May; Crown Business; $27