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Are you overly “defensive” – how your job could be the cause – and how to fix this

Are YOU overly “defensive” – leaping to defend yourself – even when you haven’t been “accused” of anything?

I know and I admit that  I can be overly DEFENSIVE – but I say this in my defence!

Young Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland before winning scholarship to study in the US

Young Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland before winning scholarship to study in the US

Early in my career I was a defence lawyer – in personal injuries actions – and these days I’ve learned to laugh at some of my in-grained “defensive” behaviour – even in the simplest things.

Like the other day. My daughter has a  drama performance at school and her hair is done nicely – her uniform neatly ironed.

Cleo barbie

I drop her off  at school and I see her join half a dozen other girls and doing hand-stands and head-stands on the grass.

My wife works morning radio and will be attending the drama performance later in the day .

I anticipate “drama” when my wife sees grass and dirt in my daughter’s messed-up hair that is certain to get more dirty as the day progresses.

I  instinctively prepare my defence:

Novus actus interveniens – which means a new intervening act. It is an act or event that breaks the causal connection between a wrong or crime or messed up and dirty hair!

I even catch myself about to take photos of the hand-stands as evidence. That’s when I laugh!

What we can all do to avoid being overly defensive.

One of the best things I’ve read (and watched) this year is a work by: Chade-Meng Tan – Search Inside Yourself.

search inside yourself

I’ll include a link to a video at the end of this post. It’s about how  Mindfulness and Awareness can help in your personal and professional life too.

“Meng” – as he likes to be called –  talks about being aware of our reactions and finding freedom and calm in the space between STIMULUS and our RESPONSE.

I still can be over-defensive – but at least I am aware of it and I am working on improving it.

These days I try to:

1. Listen to other people’s words and wait for them to finish – and don’t regard everything as a potential attack.

2. Pause and allow some “space” between someone’ spoken words (or written words in a text or e-mail). The space gives me  greater chance to resist an old habitual response.

3. Try to hear or read words in a neutral tone  – rather than in an imagined harsh or accusatory tone that I create or help create


In my professional work these days – as a corporate trainer and consultant – I’m finding growing frustration in businesses.


Reduced numbers and budgets are causing growing frustration and anger with internal AND external communication.

Lots of tasks are being delayed or not completed at all.

Lots of blame AND  angry outbursts and reactions  with spoken and written responses.

Also, anger leads to distraction and loss of attention and productivity with “the things that matter most” in getting work done.

Sound familiar? Or do you work in a business that has remained unscathed by the tougher economic conditions?

I’m finding Meng’s approach to be very valuable in my professional work helping people in businesses stay calm and focussed and more productive. Many people are reporting benefits at home too.

In my “business offering”  I don’t rip off Meng’s  ideas. As he says – he is just repeating simple, age-old wisdom.


Meng is based in the US.

If you are in Australia or the Asia-Pacific and if you feel your people could use some help dealing with work frustrations and maintaining focus and productivity – please contact me.

Here’s a link to one of Meng’s many speeches. See what you think. Personally, I like what he has to offer. He had made my personal and professional life more calm and focussed – and less defensive!



If you enjoyed this post – Let’s connect:

If you found this post interesting you can follow me and connect with me.


I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips.



tony biancotti


Linked In – under Tony Biancotti


One comment on “Are you overly “defensive” – how your job could be the cause – and how to fix this

  1. smilecalm
    November 28, 2013

    how wonderful to find guidance
    easing mind and body!
    wishing you calm, mindful breaths.

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