Triggers & Actions

Becoming Superhuman

Mar 24 2022 • 8 mins

IF this, THEN that.

In the case of automation applications like Zapier, Automate.io, and of course, IFTTT, it represents the deliberate initiation of a sequence of desired next steps.

In the case of social interactions, both digital and IRL, it can represent a spectrum of different events.

In our pursuit of Becoming Superhuman, we should analyze these triggers, and the subsequent actions. Today, we’re going to look at the presence and impact of triggers and actions in our lives.

NOTE: If you are someone who jokingly and antagonistically uses the phrase “trigger warning” to belittle people who have an emotional reaction to certain people, places, phrases, or events I would encourage you to read this entire post. While you do, try to engage your empathy muscles. Even if you don’t walk away learning to be more understanding of others, you will still gain a new tool for your own personal success.

OMG, me too!

In some cases, the trigger is something that spurs the action of retelling a particular story. In these cases, the triggers serve as the play button for a routine or shtick.

For Example...
  • IF a parent brings up a story about their child to another parent, THEN the other parent draws from a particular set of stories about their own children.
  • IF someone brings up an embarrassing, but funny, story from work or childhood, THEN others will likely join in and share their own story from a short but memorable repository.
  • IF someone brings up a restaurant they liked, THEN others will join in and share their own recent dining adventures.

We do this unconsciously, as a shortcut, in order to create a connection. These stories and shticks aren’t deliberately curated but rather cobbled together after reading people’s past reactions.

  • When we told that story last time, someone laughed, so we tell it again next time.
  • We told that other story a few weeks ago and it fell flat, best to leave it out of the repertoire.

The triggers in these cases are non-threatening, and our subsequent actions are generally agreeable.

From a bad experience to outright trauma

In other cases, the trigger is something that automatically causes someone to remember and experience an unwelcome memory or past trauma. In this case, the trigger is perceived as threatening and provokes a stress or survival response. The subsequent actions can range from total retreat to explosive and violent reaction, or anything along that spectrum.

These triggers can take so many shapes.

For Example...
  • IF you offer someone help, THEN they react negatively. You may not realize that the mere offer of help makes them feel weak, helpless, or even untrusted by those who offer the help. This could be a result of their education, past employment experiences, or upbringing where internalized messages from childhood bubble up to the surface.
  • IF you make a comment about someone’s hair, the way they talk, or mispronounce their name THEN they react hurt or angry. You may not realize that this individual has endured years of similar incidents and micro-aggressions have intentionally or unintentionally marginalized them and left them feeling like an outsider or other.
  • IF after accepting someone’s Linkedin connection request they immediately start pitching you, THEN you respond with a snarky, sarcastic, or even hostile message. They may not realize the various beliefs, past experiences, or values they have encroached upon.

That last one was about me.

Three days ago.

Unreceptive

What inspired me to write this post was a watershed moment that happened to me just three days ago.

I am in the midst of promo

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