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How to avoid being ‘hooked’

Updated: Nov 12, 2021

Being ‘hooked’ is when you are listening to someone telling a story and something they say brings back a memory of your own.  You tune out of what they are saying because you are now watching the movie of that memory in your head.

It reduces your ability to concentrate or focus on what they are saying.  You definitely will miss the subtle cues as they continue to speak – their tone, body language, facial expressions, choice of words.

If your memory is negative it may cloud your judgment and even cause you to become defensive in your interaction with this person.

Listening deeply is a skill most of us don’t use a lot because we don’t need to in day to day interactions.  But leaders, healthcare professionals and coaches (among others) need to develop this skill and use it regularly in the course of their work.  Getting hooked is to be avoided at all costs.

So how can you avoid being hooked?

  1. Self-awareness is key. Notice when your mind has wandered.

  2. Pause the movie playing in your head and bring all your attention back to the person speaking to you. You may need to clarify that you have heard and understood everything before the conversation finishes.  Don’t worry about asking for this clarification.  No-one minds and actually it shows that you are interested and concerned with what they have to say.

  3. Afterwards, make a conscious decision to ensure it doesn’t happen again. You may need to revisit the memory, reflect on it, think about why it popped up again, then put it to rest.

This week in the Resilience Hub is an exercise sheet to help you to take control and avoid being hooked.

The power we have to control our minds, thoughts and feelings is astonishing.  It’s thought that the potential neural connections in our brain outnumbers the number of atoms in our known universe. 

You might need to read that one again!  It’s difficult to comprehend.

If you need help regaining control of your thoughts, creating a positive mindset or developing your leadership skills please contact me.  I will get back to you personally to schedule a 30 minute call – completely free of charge – to chat to you about where you are, where you would like to be, and the roadmap to reach that goal.

Until next week,

Best wishes!



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