24 July 2016

search inside yourself

Chade-Meng Tan was one of the early Google engineers, and he created a course for Google employees that helps them be more effective both at work and in their personal lives. As someone who works constantly on being less reactive (think before acting), I especially appreciated his "Siberian North Railroad" concept. Basically, instead of riding emotions like a horse that leads you wherever, you learn how to steer and control the horse. :-)

Here's an excerpt:
Here is a practice called the Siberian North Railroad for dealing with triggers. This is a useful practice not only for triggers but also for other situations in which we need to deal with negative or distressing emotions. 
The practice has five steps:
1. Stop
2. Breathe
3. Notice
4. Reflect
5. Respond 
Jennifer Bevan, one of our class participants, came up with the mnemonic that became the name of the practice. She took the first letter of each step, SBNRR, and created the phrase SiBerian North RailRoad. I like the mental imagery behind the mnemonic. It's like you need to cool down from all that heat of an emotional trigger, and where better to cool down than one of the coldest and most remote places in the world? 
The first and most important step is to stop. Whenever you feel triggered, just stop. Pausing at the onset of a trigger is a very powerful and important skill. Do not react for just one moment. This moment is known as the sacred pause. It enables all the other steps. If you only remember one step in this practice, remember this one. In almost every instance, this one step is enough to make a big difference.
I love the idea of the sacred pause. It takes just one second for us to remember our humanity. And by practicing these concepts, Meng, as he is commonly known, hopes to facilitate world peace. It's crazy enough that it just might work. :-)

Here's his TED talk, which is worth checking out, too. Enjoy.

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