Introducing the Rational Defensive Triangle

Introducing the Rational Defensive Triangle

We all operate along a continuum between rational and defensive and rational behaviour.

When we’re feeling rational, we feel relaxed and positive. When our defences are triggered, we start to become less flexible, emotionally and physically.

Everyone’s triggers are different.

Where we are on the continuum corresponds to two important factors – the amount of awareness we have and the degree of choice we have.

When we are rational and flexible, we have a range of reactions and emotions to choose from. We have wide choice and wide awareness.

Our degree of choice starts to diminish and, with it, our degree of awareness. In fact, we might not even notice that we’ve started to become defensive.

In extreme defensiveness, our degree of awareness has completely disappeared. When we hit this “point of no return”, we are on “autopilot”. We are stuck, and are probably not even aware of it!

Research has shown that, as stress goes up, our I.Q. can go down. This shows up in those moments when we walk away from a stressful conversation. For example, when we can’t remember what the other person said or think to ourselves “Why didn’t I think of that at the time?”.

So how can we use the model to manage our responses and spend more time at the bottom of the triangle?

Find out where you are on the triangle?

Sinead Collins

Sinead joined OMT in 2011 and is a Design and Marketing Executive. She specialises in managing key marketing activity. She creates and designs compelling marketing campaigns that speak directly to our customers. Sinead works closely right across the organisation to help develop the business.

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