Decision Making & Foolish Consistency

A foolish consistency is a hobgoblin of little minds. -Ralph Waldo Emerson (1)

Although I admit I have been foolish at times, Emerson's quote strikes me and has me saying "I don't have a little mind!"

This happens many times to my clients. Throughout our coaching time together, we find that although they have been consistent in their efforts, the consistency proved a behavioral pattern that was foolish and sometimes, was a path of influence created by others.

Have you ever bought into the story from fitness companies that as long as you’re consistent with the purchase of the products you will have success, then spend more and more and end up on auto shipping but nothing has changed?

Have you ever bought into the story that as long as you’re consistent with following the exact prescribed marketing process with a specific platform, creative process, or funnel- you will have success because "they told you so"?

Have you ever told yourself the story, as long as you remain consistent with your hard work, take on more on than you're asked, and commit beyond what you have the capacity to maintain, that you'll finally receive the promotion?

We all fall prey to foolish consistency.

Consistency makes us feel like we are in control. However, there are organizations and individuals who prey on the psychological effect of commitment and consistency, a weapon wielded to create influence. (2)

How can you break free of foolish consistency and commit to what will influence YOUR journey? Follow the path up; gut, heart, mind. (3)

Recognizing and concentrating on the small bursts of information you feel in the gut and the heart slows the process of influence. Where your mind is the last step and can help you discern what is taking place OR begin rationalizing your upcoming choices. This is something called affective reactions. Many of these affective reactions have been linked to our nervous system. (4)

Three steps to listening.

1. Listen to your gut.

You know that feeling when you've been duped into another project, taking care of the neighbor's naughty child, or staying late to clean up your bosses mess. Your stomach is in knots, you feel a pit of dread in your belly.

2. Listen to your heart.

The second brain of the body. Our heart has an intrinsic network that can learn and manage its memories. This may feel like a pang in your “heart of hearts” when you FEEL your choice will not give you what you're searching for. For example, a battered woman believing she can change her partner’s ways. Many times it's your heart that tells you you're being consistent beyond your abilities or rationalizations. 3. Mind. The last stop for decision making and thus how influenced you to become is the mind. You do have the ability to be consistent without foolishness however if you haven’t captured those small bursts of information in your gut and heart, you are more likely to fall prey to the mind’s ability to rationalize and justify your choice. What have you been foolishly consistent in? Learn to recognize what your body is telling you and capture those moments to break free of the hobgoblin taking over. You can capture your foolish consistencies and build fulfilled consistencies through your poiema purpose put into action. Ask me how.


  1. Emerson, Ralph Waldo. 1841, Essay Self Reliance.

  2. Cialdini, Robert B. 1984. Influence the Psychology of Persuasion, pg 57-68

  3. Soosalu, Grant. 2019. Head, Heart, and Gut in Decision Making: Development of a Multiple Brain Preference Questionnaire.

  4. Zajonc, R. B., Feeling and Thinking: Preferences Need No Inferences. American Psychologist, 1980, 35, 151-175. #poiemawomenscoaching #lifecoachingforwomen #coaching #lifecoach #breakfree #breakthrough #headheartgut #yourbodyistellingyou #ralphwaldoemerson #hobgoblin

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