It may be that part of what got President-elect Trump elected was his lack of self-restraint. As offensive as many of his comments were to many it may be that it wasn’t nearly as offensive and exasperating as the gridlock that has occupied Washington for many years and prevented it from serving the urgent and even desperate needs of Americans.

Now that he has become our next President, it may be that he’ll need to become more circumspect and exercise more self-restraint.

He is not the only one who would do well do learn that skill. There are more than enough examples in history where a rush to judgment produced disastrous results. Even in all of our lives there is ample evidence to support the adage, “haste makes waste.”

I personally would do well to exercise more self-restraint, especially in my blog postings (I hope this is not yet another example of not having done so).

If you too, believe that would be a healthy practice for you to develop, perhaps the following exercise a friend shared with me will help you as much as it has helped me.

3 Steps to Developing Self-Restraint

When something upsetting, frustrating or angering happens to you…

Step 1 — Think of the first thing you want to say or do and then don’t do it. That is about about protecting yourself by “fight or flight” by launching a counter attack or running away. Instead, take a deep long breath and proceed to…

Step 2— Think of the second thing you want to say or do and then don’t do it. That is about retaliating and getting even and just invites escalation as the other side responds in kind. Instead take a deep breath and proceed to…

Step 3— Think of the third thing you want to say or do and then do that. That is about about finding a possible solution.

Does this sound familiar? Your grandparents will tell you, “Oh, that’s the old, ‘count to ten’ rule.”

That may be true, but of course your grandparents lived during a time when attention spans were longer and “pedal to the metal” meant going zero to sixty in 8 seconds instead of tweeting to a hundred million followers in an instant.

Originally published at


  • Mark Goulston, M.D.

    Author, speaker, podcast host, psychiatrist

    Dr. Mark Goulston is the inventor and developer of Surgical Empathy an approach that helps people to break their attachments to counterproductive modes of functioning and frees them to connect with more productive and healthier alternatives. He is the host of the “My Wakeup Call” podcast where he interviews people on the wakeup calls that changed who they are and made them better human beings and at being human and the host of the LinkedIn Live show, "No Strings Attached." He is a Founding Member of the Newsweek Expert Forum. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on deep listening, radical empathy and real influence with his book, “Just Listen,” becoming the top book on listening in the world, translated into twenty languages and a topic he speaks and teaches globally. He is an advisor, coach, mentor and confidante to CEO’s, founders and entrepreneurs helping them to unlock all their internal blocks to achieving success, fulfillment and happiness. Originally a UCLA professor of psychiatry and crisis psychiatrist for over 25 years, and former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer, Dr. Goulston's expertise has been forged and proven in the crucible of real-life, high stakes situations including being a boots on the ground suicide prevention specialist and serving as an advisor in the OJ Simpson criminal trial. Including, “Just Listen,” he is the author or co-author of nine books with multiple best sellers. He writes or contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Biz Journals, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Psychology Today and has appeared as an psychological expert in the media including: CNN, Headline News, msNBC, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Psychology Today and was the subject of a PBS special. He lives with his wife in Los Angeles, California.