How to Use the Heat of the Moment to Control Future Behavior

In Short: 
  • The presence of witnesses to the things we say changes our experience of saying things in the heat of the moment.
  • Enticing others to make proclamations of their own in the heat of the moment seems to be effective in encouraging them to hold up those proclamations when the moment’s heat fizzles out.
  • The first step, is to figure out what you should entice your subject to say.
  • Figure out what about the current moment is either great or not so great.
  • Once you’ve got that decided, then it’s time to elicit commentary from the individual based on the great, or not so great, aspects of the moment.
  • Keeping tabs on their comments about the current moment will enable you to hold them to their own word the next time a similar moment rolls around.

In Full: 

You likely have experience saying something in the heat of the moment. It may have been when you drank too much the night prior to a rough morning. Or, perhaps, when you had too much dessert resulting in feeling the distinct sickness that only comes with eating too much sugar. You may have promised yourself that you’ll never drink that much again, and that you’d ease back on the desserts from that point on.

Once a little time goes by however, the things you tell yourself in the heat of the moment tend to cool in their intensity. You’ll find yourself forgetting about the hangover, and the sickness you felt from eating too much dessert won’t deter you from indulging in embarrassing amounts next time. You’ll drink away, and order your ice cream with an extra scoop or two.

 


The Effect of a Witness


What changes our experience of saying things in the heat of the moment however, is the presence of witnesses to the things we say.

If your friend hears you saying that you’ll tone down the drinking, you’re likelier to be held accountable to your word. Should you be seen drinking too much again, your friend would have the capacity to call you out. They may mention what you said when you were crippled by a throbbing headache, and you’d find yourself trapped in a box you built yourself when you let a prior moment’s pain get the best of your unbiased judgment.

“Whatever happened to not going hard on the drinking! I knew you’d be back in action!”

This article is about the dynamic of enticing people to say things in the heat of the moment in order to reference later down the line. Specifically, guiding their dialogue toward making proclamations about their future behavior is what this article aims to highlight. It is about being in a position of witnessing someone exclaim a declaration in the heat of the moment, then holding them accountable to that exclamation.

Enticing others to make proclamations of their own in the heat of the moment seems to be effective in encouraging them to hold up those proclamations when the moment’s heat fizzles out.

 


Find Out What Is Most Desirable / Undesirable About the Current Moment


The first step to influencing future behavior based on the current moment, is to figure out what you should entice your subject to say. Find out what about the current moment they’re most susceptible to making a declaration about. Above, examples were given surrounding drinking too much and eating too much dessert.

Another example can include saying they’ll never go to a theme park during peak season, as they stand in a long line for a ride. Being stuck in traffic can entice people to make declarations for the future, as can spending too much money at the mall.

Many moments in life provide opportunities to entice someone declare something they wouldn’t otherwise declare. As you’re making your analysis of the current moment, figure out what about the moment is either great or not so great. Once you do so, decide whether you want to encourage the individual you’re speaking with to focus on the great or not so great aspects of this moment.

Once you’ve got that decided, then it’s time to elicit commentary from the individual based on the great or not so great aspects of the moment.

 


Bring Up Topics Which Entice Others to Make Generalizing Declarations


As you’re sitting in traffic longer than you need to, you may notice the people you’re riding with get a little restless. Wanting to limit your future suffering, a strategy to employ can be one of enticing the people in the car you’re in to declare that they’ll avoid rush hour the next time.

How you bring the topic up is your decision. However, a key point to remember is to avoid blatantly exposing your position on whether future behavior should change. Be observatory in your dialogue about traffic, rush hour, and perhaps there being a better time to play basketball at the local rec center.

Try to simply bring the topic up in the minds of those around you. With their objectivity being swayed by the heat of the moment, they’d be likely to comment on the topic in an opinionated manner.

The importance of not stating your opinion regarding altercations to future behavior doesn’t end there. Making the people around you believe that they completely own the declarations they’re making is a key point to consider. Rather than enticing someone to agree with you, you need to entice them to voice their own opinions for others to agree with.

For instance, rather than saying, “We should pick a time to play which doesn’t fall on rush hour next week,” it would be more effective to simply be observatory in your dialogue, “Looks like we hit rush hour this week.”

By being so, you’d leave a slot open in the conversation for someone’s opinion to be injected into. That opinion is what you’d hope to be driven by the heat of the moment.

More examples of observatory, enticing, comments:

  • “Didn’t expect this line to be this long!”
  • “We can safely say summer’s begun, the sun’s burning a hole in my back.”
  • “Feels good to get chores done prior to going out.”
  • “Oh man, are my eyes half closed? Can’t wake myself up for this 8:30 AM meeting.”

Comments such as the ones above, all have the aspect of leaving space for others’ opinions in common. Make comments which others can agree with and then add on to. Their additions is what you’d hope contain declarations that you can hold them accountable to down the line.

 


Keep Tabs on the Declarations People Make, and Remind Them of Their Own Statements


Once others make the declarations you’ve enticed, be sure to allow them to take complete ownership of them. Try not to add any more information of your own other than simply agreeing with the declaration they make.

They may say:

  • “Yeah, we need to pick a better time to head to the rec center next time.”
  • “Yeah the quality of the meeting seems to take a hit in the morning, we should reschedule.”
  • “It’s too hot to be walking around in the open like this, I think we need to come to the Zoo in the evening next time.”

People seem to like taking ownership of future plans based on today’s information. Once they do, all you then have to do, is remind them you were there when they declared whatever it is that they declared.

The next time a certain behavior is about to be repeated, bring up the circumstance in which they made their declaration. Don’t quote their declarations / promises directly. Rather, simply bring up the, “time when…”

By only bringing up the times in which people made certain declarations, you subtly remind them of the opinions they held surrounding a certain event, moment, or behavior. By not quoting them directly, you avoid their tendency to think that you’re using their words against them. Simply guide them toward the opinion which they held about a certain moment in times past.

Your best hope, is increasing the chances of them remembering what they declared in the heat of the moment, and abiding by that declaration. People will forget, and they’ll forgive past moments for causing them discomfort. However, the process of guiding them to the opinions they voiced in the heat of a certain past moment does well to entice them to abide by their own words in similar moments to come.

 

Book Recommendation: 

The 33 Strategies of War



Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims in any way.