The basic things we all want—fulfilling relationships, accomplishments of which we’re proud, meaningful success at work, to be of service to others, peace of mind—are surprisingly straightforward to achieve. But, in many cases, our best efforts to achieve them are built on habits and behaviors that, simply put, don’t work.
When we feel overwhelmed and stressed by our growing to-do list, our knee-jerk reaction is to work longer hours and pack more into the hours we are already working. We multitask, dash from meeting to meeting, sneak e-mails under the conference-room table, and work early in the morning and late into the night. Our intention is to reduce our stress and overload. But our actions have the exact opposite effect: we end up more stressed and more overloaded.
In Four Seconds, Peter Bregman shows that the key to success in our fast-moving world is to pause for as few as four seconds–the length of a deep breath–to replace bad habits and reactions with more productive behaviors. In his trademark style of blending personal anecdotes with practical advice, Bregman reveals some of our most common counter-productive tendencies and describes counter-intuitive strategies for acting more intentionally.
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