I am not sure if it part of my personality or something I learned from someone growing up (or maybe I learned it just by observing others), but I think one important trait to have in order to be successful is to think before you act. This thoughtfulness applies to what you may say or do.
In general, being reactive can do a lot of harm to both professional (your career) and personal relationships. It can be the old “putting your foot in your mouth” sydrome when it comes to spoken words (or written communication). Or acting without thinking before taking a certain action can cause even more serious issues, such as missed promotions, loss of income, legal issues, job terminations, criminal activities, and the like.
When it comes to a professional role, you need to think before you speak (act). There can be verbally abusive people in an office, and the wrong language can cause them professional harm or hurt a career. Or, if a decision is made on a course for a business to take without any thought going into said decision, it can hurt a business. Like what if some restaurant owner said lets go invest in a new convection oven without running the numbers of Profit and loss, ROI, etc. Or if someone who works in a corporation losses their cool in front of co-workers, clients, or management. Acting, or speaking, before thinking can do harm.
Now think about the employee in a business meeting that is faced with a decision point. The person who takes a little time to think about the options, pros-cons, etc. is much more likely to make the right decision, which can help with career growth. Or the person in the meting who doesn’t fire off words, who thinks before speaking, is much more professional. And of course a business owner, when faced with a decision about their company, who thinks about the options before acting is much more likely to be successful.
You also see the recent stories of people, even celebrities such as Roseanne Barr, posting inappropriate or racist things on social networks. They do this without thinking, and it can come back to harm them through loss of their job or worse. There was even the recent national story of the white lady (who was racist) in St. Louis who was fired for not letting a black man into his apartment, and this was recorded on a social network. But then again I am glad she acted without thinking as she deserved to be fired at the last!
There are also of course many problems that can occur in personal relationships too. Those who do not think before they act can say harmful words, there are examples of violence or even worse such as murder of those who do not think, and more. There are countless articles on how critical it is to think before acting, as well as suggestions on what to do such as this one from Tiny Buddha.
As we have written about, being calm, thoughtful, and self-aware can be extremely beneficial to professional development as well as personal relationships. It all really comes back to thinking before you act or speak…it is an important characteristic to have.