What kind of a world would this be if we acted on our first knee-jerk thought – such as anger, revenge, prejudice and lust? The answer: a world of total chaos. Unfortunately though, many of us do.

Then there are those who recognize their first thought, take a breath, look at the thought behind the thought and the thought behind that thought. That is why emotional maturity is so very important, as is learning the tools to grow emotionally.

This question was triggered while watching the actor Kevin Costner on NBC’s “Today Show,” speaking about the insights he had while making his new movie “Black or White.” The plot centers around a custody battle between a grieving widower, Elliot Anderson (Kevin Costner), and paternal grandmother, Rowena (Octavia Spencer), as to who is better equipped to raise his biracial granddaughter.

His insight, to me, is profound because he admitted that everyone – in their own unique way – has prejudice. But those who are centered can dismiss the first thought and look at a more emotionally mature thought that, hopefully, lies behind it.

So, as a performance coach, I recommend that you begin to become aware of your thinking, first in hindsight, then in the present moment. Learn a simple relaxation, slow down and look at the thought behind your thought.