“A true history of human events would show that a far larger proportion of our acts are the result of sudden impulse and accident than of reason of which we so often boast”. Albert Cooper

Have you ever spoken out in anger and regretted the words almost as soon as they came out? Ever acted without thinking out the consequences of your actions? If you are you are certainly not alone. Many high profile people have had their careers ruined because of one brief moment when their mouths went into action before their thoughts could stop them. Included in this category are politicians who have seen their futures go up in smoke because of a slip of the tongue? What we are talking about is impulse control, the ability to form our thoughts prior to acting or speaking. Impulse control is an important aspect of emotional intelligence. The ability to manage our strong emotions is one of the most important factors in determining how well our lives work.
There was a time when I would get angry and say things that came back to haunt me. To overcome this I came up with a simple exercise that works every time. Whenever I feel myself wanting to react in the heat of the moment, I count to 10 in thousands. While I am counting my emotional level is going down and when I’m done the urge to react has passed, allowing me to think and rationally chose how to deal with the situation. For an example of how this has worked for me read my Road Rage Blog…..
Along the same lines as impulse control is the ability to delay gratification. In 1961 at Stanford University a very important long term study took place. A group of 4 year olds were asked to sit down in front of a long table. These 4 year olds were the children of university professors, a group that did not move around much, making it easier years later to track the children. Each child had a marshmallow placed in front of them. They were told by the adults that they would be left alone in the room for 15 minutes. When the adults returned, any 4 year old that had not eaten his or her marshmallow would be given a second one. As soon as the door closed about two thirds of the children succumbed to temptation and gobbled up their marshmallows. For those left, the 15 minutes passed very slowly. Some licked, nibbled on their marshmallows, but in the end held out. To see a video of this story from my friend Joachim de Posada go to http://www.motivationalbookspeaker.com/index.php and click on Video 3 under …JOACHIM DE POSADA SPEAKS….Joachim has written a book titled Don’t Eat the Marshmallow…Yet!, which is based on life lessons learned from the outcome of the marshmallow story.

Author's Bio: 

Harvey Deutschendorf is the author of THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success published by AMACOM in 2009.
He is an speaker, coach and expert on emotional intelligence. Harvey belongs to the Mankind Project, a men's organization dedicated to personal growth and community service and Toastmasters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta CANADA and enjoys spending time with friends, hiking, jazz and blues music, travelling and wine.