There are two terms in the study of economics that apply not just to the economy, but the rest of life as well.  The two terms are Spillover Costs and Spillover Benefits.

At the core of these ideas is that there are ancillary costs and benefits that should be considered beyond the primary ones we associate with an endeavor.  For example, people who never fly still benefit from improvements made to the local airport. More jobs, better restaurants for the people flying in and out, and improved infrastructure are just some spillover benefits.  An example of spillover costs are ones associated with smoking.  Not only is there the cost of cigarettes, there is the increased cost of health insurance, life insurance, medical attention, and diminished home and car values.

One of the biggest areas where this comes into play is in our demeanor.  I was talking with an entrepreneur recently who observed that when he didn’t let difficult people get their “hooks” into him and get him all upset, that his life had much more peace and tranquility.  He then noted that not only was his life better, the atmosphere in his entire office was better.  When he was calm, those around him tended to be calm.  But when he was emotionally charged, others trended toward being more emotionally charged as well. 

When I asked him what the key for him was, he said something we can all learn from.  He had learned to recognize his triggers.  By paying attention to his emotions and the mood in the room he caught himself before circumstances got the best of him.  It is often possible to anticipate scenarios that have the potential for tripping us up. If we do, many pitfalls can be avoided.  This is a simple, yet powerful tactic.  It is also a powerful leadership tool that can improve the ambiance at home, at work, at play and even at church.

If we would be on careful guard for things that set us off, then many a bomb would be diffused before it had the chance to detonate.  And your life and the life of everyone around you would be better.

Have you recognized your triggers?

Live this week on purpose,
Ron Klopfenstein

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