Act Now, Think Later: 4 Realities Impulsive People Know To Be True

by Rachel Farnham

If my mind could paint a picture of an impulsive person he’d be technicolor splatters on white canvas.

Impulsive people are generally acknowledged as being loud and vibrant, indecisive and carefree.

They’re the people who have little restraint and use childlike reasoning, more regularly acting on impulse than sentient consideration.

Yet that’s not really right, is it? Impulsive people may be technicolor, as a group, but individually, there’s the scarlet reds, sparkling pinks, wallflower white and honeybee yellows.

We’re all different; the similarity is the negative connotations that come with being impulsive.

If you resonate with being impulsive, you don't have the mind of a 3-year-old who has yet to learn responsibility, and your decisions aren’t necessarily bad or detrimental because they were made in moments.

Impulsive people live a little differently because we make decisions based on raw emotions and gut feelings.

If our decisions were to become road maps, highways would be scribble lines that somehow ended up connecting while tiny suburban streets would be analyzed and drawn in pencil. Big decisions are easily made while little ones are almost arduously thought about.

If you’re an impulsive person, these experiences might resonate with you:

You act on immediate, raw emotion.

Once, I was sitting in my college class and the lecturer was outlining the materials that would be discussed that day, and suddenly I knew I didn’t want to be there anymore.

Nothing extraordinary happened, and there was no sign or better offer, but I just knew.

The next day, I withdrew from all my units and booked a flight to England to visit my family using a credit card I’d ordered the day before.

There’s a fine line between courage and idiocy when it relates to life decisions, and some might say that an impulsive person needs to grow up and consider the consequences of his or her hasty actions.

I’d say impulsive people may very well be acting hasty, but we’re acting on what we know is right, which is generally just an unexpected, irrefutable feeling.

They say "gut feeling" for a reason because that little feeling in your stomach is your own self, warning you that something’s not right.

If acting immediately is something you do, like an internal compass to navigate you through certain stages of your life, then you’re an impulsive person. Welcome!

You make big life decisions instantly.

Similarly to the above, I’ve come to notice that impulsive people make rather serious life decisions in the time it takes for them to blink.

Sometimes this is not based on emotions or gut feelings, but rather is driven by a need for change, a desire to see something new or to experience something different.

Whatever the reason and whatever the decision, it is not one for the pros and cons list. It’s not even a decision to discuss with family or friends, to mull over with a bottle of wine or to consider its plausibility or consequences.

A big life decision may be something like leaving college, moving states, traveling abroad — the list could go on.

While these decisions seem ill-advised and often childlike in their lack of consideration, I believe impulsive people are the ones who will jump and see if they’ll fall, knowing there’s a chance they could also fly.

It’s liberating, and frankly, often rewarding to make a decision and stick to it, to let the chips scatter where they may. Be that brave or stupid, you decide.

You wait for regret rather than consider it.

Everyone is different when it comes to taking chances that may end up in regret. There’s no certainty in life, but no one wants to look at his or her past and feel sorrow due to the things he or she shouldn’t have done.

That’s why many people plan, consider and devise the controllable elements in their lives in order to best avoid potential mistakes and regret.

An impulsive person will scarcely do this. When an act is carried out or even just before it comes to fruition, regret is a faded sort of term like one from a language class in high school; you know some words but can’t remember their meanings or significance.

Impulsive people can let words leap off the tips of their tongues without considering what damage they will cause because we felt it and then said it.

On a larger scale, we can do things like quit our jobs because they make us desperately unhappy without mapping out the financial aspects that might blow holes in our plans.

Regret is something we wait for to happen. It’s not planned for, and its possibility can be largely neglected, but it hurts like a sucker punch when it finds you, if it finds you.

You overthink the little things.

As previously mentioned, impulsive people can scribble the main streets of their own lives with relative ease, but the smaller streets, the little lines that make the veins of the map, are crafted.

It’s a strange dichotomy when you’ve spent your savings on a holiday six months away but agonize about whether or not to go out on a Saturday night because you know a few glasses of bubbly and a taxi home will slice the already thin number in your bank account until next payday.

It’s an odd internal conversation of, "I really shouldn’t get a taxi home tonight because I feel a bit guilty after the holiday I just booked."

Other little things like gifts, books, movies and food can all be decisions that make you pace back and forth at the shop, cinema and supermarket. It’s an absurd contradiction, but one I’ve noticed fairly regularly among the impulsive crowd, myself included.

I don’t know if there is any right or wrong way to make a decision, but if you’re young, single and impulsive, there are certainly worse things you could be.

We get things done and perhaps not in the most considerate manner, but how many of us really look back at our decisions and imagine a different outcome?

If our lives are based on gut feelings and we’re in tune with our emotions, being impulsive is also kind of a blessing.