Think Before I Act

June 18, 2021

When my girlfriend, Joanne, broke up with me, I lost control. Consumed by depression, I acted on raw emotion rather than rational thought. Had I taken a moment to think before acting impulsively, things might have turned out differently for us.

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Instead, my erratic actions only worsened the situation. I almost begged Joanne for her forgiveness, hoping my sincerity would make her reconsider. Unfortunately, this approach backfired, exposing my neediness and insecurity.

Joanne proceeded to block all forms of communication with me—WhatsApp, phone calls, and social media. I responded by doing the exact opposite of what I should have done: giving her space and taking time to calm down. The more I attempted to fix the problem, the further away I pushed her.

My irrational behavior yielded disastrous results. Despite my frantic efforts, everything unraveled. Joanne remained unyielding, and I conceded defeat in the relationship.

When a new girlfriend, Jessica, broke up with me, I found myself back in the same dire situation. Despite my attempts to apologize for what seemed like minor issues, she became distant and unforgiving. This time, however, I knew better than to repeat my previous mistakes. I needed to adopt a cool, calm, and collected approach, to sit down and assess what had gone wrong before taking any drastic measures. Not doing so would have been a grave mistake.

Love is a complex emotional experience, and while my efforts to mend a broken relationship may have moved me, they failed to connect with my partner. Acting out of fear and insecurity only exacerbated the situation.

Had I taken the time to think before acting impulsively, I could have avoided a lot of emotional turmoil. Instead of succumbing to depression, I should have sought support from family, friends, or professional counseling.

Books became my closest advisors, teaching me to view relationships from a woman’s perspective. I learned to ask critical questions like, what does a woman think during a breakup? What does she prioritize? What does she truly need and want?

To apply this newfound wisdom, I had to control my instincts and weigh them against rational thought. This entailed considering the other side of the story, examining multiple perspectives, and identifying when my emotional reactions were becoming unreasonable.

Over time, I managed to recover from these failed relationships. Life is never perfect, and Murphy’s Law often rears its head at the most inconvenient times. At one point, I thought business strategies could solve personal problems, but I was sorely mistaken. A relationship involves two individuals, each with their own unique perspectives and expectations. The key is to find a way for these two persons to live harmoniously despite their differences.

In relationships, it’s easy to focus inward, generating unnecessary worries. Instead, shift the focus from "me" to "us," and identify viable solutions. It's crucial to think before acting, especially when emotions run high.

I’ve learned that thinking and acting are distinct yet interconnected processes. Each has its merit but cannot replace the other. Thus, balance is crucial. Overthinking without taking action is counterproductive, just as acting without thinking is reckless.

In the grand scheme of things, the only element I can control is my thought process. Before taking any action, it’s essential to assess whether my thinking is aligned with my objectives.

It's easy to have a plan until things go wrong. True character and strategy are tested when facing consistent setbacks. Before diving into advanced strategies and tactics, it's fundamental to ask: am I thinking correctly before acting? This serves as the foundation for all future decisions and actions.

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn