What’s Your Default Setting?

“Belief creates the actual fact. The greatest revolution of my generation is the discovery that individuals, by changing their inner attitudes of mind, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
- Anonymous

There are various ways to find out exactly the kind of person you are or the kind of people you deal with. One of the easiest ways is to know your immediate reaction to situations. It’s just like carrying out a study on malaria symptoms. In order to know how a patient would react to the malaria disease, he must be a malaria patient first. You don’t know how you would react to particular situations until you’re in one yourself.

Like phones and many other electronic gadgets, we as humans also have a ‘default setting’. This simply means that action we take or that attitude we go back to whenever we’re faced with challenging situations. It’s usually the first thing that comes to our mind to do even before the option of a second thought becomes visible.

Our reaction to situations is often influenced by our emotional and mental states. Our actions are sometimes so reflex that over time, they become a part of us without our knowledge. It’s at this point that such actions become our default actions when faced with similar situations.

Understanding ourselves better is really important, especially if success in life, business and relationships is our main goal. It helps us know which emotions to suppress and which ones to build. Living a life governed by negative emotions only makes us do actions which we would only regret later.
Listed below are a few situations which we, at one time have found ourselves in.

1. When faced with a challenge, do you see it as outside your scope, or as an opportunity to learn something new? Seeing it as outside your scope only means that you’re saying, ‘I can’t do it’.

2. When you’re offended, do you DESTROY or do you chill out and think? When I say ‘destroy’, I don’t really mean the things around you but that relationship you have with your ‘offender’. This used to be my default action until I realized that I had broken more relationships than I had at the time.

3. When you fail, do you give up and stay down or do you try to get back up? Giving up makes you a quitter and in the future, you’ll end up blaming others for your failure, forgetting that you’re the major cause. This is one of the major ‘symptoms’ of negative emotions- refusing to accept responsibility.

These are just a few of the many circumstances that help us define and restructure our attitudes.
If you realize that keeping or restoring default settings would only make things worse, then activate the new ones. You’ll be better that way.

Do you think it’s possible to completely change your default setting? What default action do you regret and how did you rid yourself of it? I’d love to hear your comments.

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Ebooks you might want to check out:
Change Your Mind, Change Your Life
Power, Purpose and Service


  1. Very Interesting indeed, I don’t think I can never change my default. After 18 years of conditioning to it doubt that I will change. :-)

  2. Hi Lanre. Interesting post. I do believe that change is always possible… mostly because it is already happening. We change every day whether we like it or not. The real challenge is to change our default setting to acceptance from resistance. Once we do that everything is possible.

  3. @Jared Dela Paz
    It’s not impossible for a change to occur. If you’re comfortable with your default, then there’s no need to change. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. What a wonderful post, Lanre!

    You are so right when you say that people often react via a re-programmed mode! they don’t even take time to THINK about their reaction. They just blurt it out, or offend the recipient, likely without realizing how damaging their comments or actions may be.

    A close member of my family fits this bill. His reactions are so judgemental. You pretty much have to walk on glass when dealing with him. I have found that I’ve just pulled away and react with him much now because I’m trying to preserve my own sanity and peace of mind.

  5. I totally agree with you Mike. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. @wizardofwords
    Yes, we all have a reprogrammed model which we activate unknowingly. The good thing is we can determine this model. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I love you title! And I totally believe we can change our default settings–it just depends on how much we want (or need) the change. Our beliefs are our reality and it’s possible to change our beliefs–it’s all about our perceptions, our interpretations of those perceptions, and our attitude. Love your blog!

  8. Lanre,

    I absolutely believe that we can changes, it is really all about what we think and we just have to be conscious of our thought patterns and learn to have better control of what we think. I think most people are very unaware of their internal chatter which is usually much worse then what other people say about us and we hear that internal chatter all the time. I know that at time I have to stop and notice my internal chatter and adjust my thinking and when I do, things in my life tens to flow for the better instead of for the worse. We are what we think. As Ford once said, If you think you can, your right. If you think you can’t, your right.


  9. I am attempting to go through a positive change as to not cause undue stress upon myself, as well as others around me. But there are times, I react in a manner that is not very becoming, but also, very unlike me.

    I need to stop and think before reacting.

    Thank you for an insightful article. I look forward to reading more from you.

  10. @Lanre Hahahaha! Hopefully I will be able to change some of my defaults to a better one.. ^^

  11. @Sandra McLeod Humphrey
    I appreciate your comment Sandra. Thanks for stopping by.

  12. @MsJWoodard
    @Nikki Hoskin
    Yes, being conscious of our actions is important, especially if we want to keep our relationships. I appreciate your comments, thanks for stopping by.

  13. As a person who teaches emotional intelligence skills to parents and children, I heartily appreciate this post! An important step in understanding ourselves is to gain our own emotional literacy. Did you know that the brain registeres emotions before logic? It only makes sense to understand what we are feeling before we can do anyting about it. You raise an important point that we should learn to respond instead of react. Indeed people can learn the skills of EI and change their ways to create happy, win win outcomes. Great post!

  14. @Keyuri Joshi
    I’m glad you found this post interesting and useful. Understanding how our emotional states work would really help us handle situations better. Thanks for your comment and hope you come by again.

  15. Totally agree we all have a default setting. I am very conscious of this, but it is really hard to change. You are making progress when after you have reacted, you immediately realize what you did. This means you are coming to where you can think through your response. As a Christian, I think this is where prayer helps. I enjoy your post and have opted to follow your blog on networked blogs.

  16. @Kathleen Goldson-Clarke
    Yes, being able to think through your response is as sign of development. It means you are beginning to take control of your actions. I appreciate your comment.

  17. This post is right on the money, Lanre. I agree that we ought to refuse to be enslaved by default settings that are, after all, not innate, but a result of nurture, mostly self-nurture. I know for sure that it is in my power to abandon default settings in much the same way we can abandon a default browser. The beauty of it is that we do not have to replace the abandoned default with yet another default that might prove to be equally deleterious to our success as human beings. Life and relating call for flexibility, adaptability and tolerance.
    Speaking for myself, not only CAN I change from the habit of reverting to cop-out default settings in my dealings with other human beings (other species too!); I MUST abandon the habit, because it renders me uncreative and boring to myself and to others. It comes “naturally” to me to bristle at challenges, including adverse comments on my Facebook posts (thankfully, so far just one on an inconsequential matter), but I have discovered that the bristling response is fed by unproductive hubris, and I have felt lighter and ennobled when I have disengaged the default gear and chosen outreach in lieu of outrage.

    Lanre, thank you again for your profound insights. When you have time, do please visit my blog at PossibilityPages.blogspot.com, and please leave your comment and your blessing.

  18. To me, the default setting is about values, ethics and courage. Oddly, this post reminds of the recent movie “Captain America.” In it, a scrawny Steve Rogers proves his worth when his commanding officer throws a dummy grenade into a group of recruits. Everyone else runs away, but Rogers throws himself on it to save his buddies. Now THAT’s a default setting I’m sure we wish we all had.

  19. @Jonathan Wutawunashe
    @Michael Charney
    Default settings are formed from actions we do over time. And yes Michael, they portray our values. Thanks for your comments.

  20. Hi Lanre, I understand why but I believe that most people react negatively to any form of negative (or perceived as negative) feedback.

    Whether the feedback comes from a negative comment or failed business venture – people use the failure to say “I knew I was useless, this … just goes to prove it.”

    People put themselves down and undervalue their abilities despite being (in some cases) highly skilled.

    It’s sad to say but I really believe that this type of behaviour is hardwired and incredibly difficult to change – if this wasn’t true we’d all be millionaires, have created world peace and could solve Rubik’s cube in under a minute.

    A genuinely interesting post Lanre.


  21. @Paul
    You’re on the mark Paul. Negative feedback begets negative reactions. Yes, it’s hard to change but it’s possible. I appreciate your comment.

  22. Excellent post as usual. In the last few years I have become quite conscious of my default negative settings, and I’m glad to say I’ve changed some and I’m still changing the rest. I notice how now I will laugh at things that frustrate me, knowing it’s just a test of my patience. I will then quietly pray and work my way through it to the best of my ability instead of instantly getting upset and complaining like I used to. With other default settings that I’m still in the process of changing, I’ve noticed how I will now catch myself in the act. If I start to feel discouraged or down about something, I’ll notice how the negative thoughts and feelings will bleed into everything I do. So once I notice that I’ll stop, note the root of the problem and then participate in my favorite bliss activities (like listening to my favorite feel good music) to get me back into a positive feeling and state of mind. It works every time and I’m so glad to see the growth in my reactions and mindset.

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