Ever have someone tell you to do something you knew in your head you should do, but couldn’t avoid a gut-level reaction to do the opposite? When you see a “Keep off the grass” sign, does it make you want to play a game of football? Does all the anti-smoking rhetoric make you want to flare one up?
If the answer is yes, then you may have a high level of Reactance. We love our freedom, and will act in irrational and self-destructive ways whenever it is threatened. It’s a factor behind things like the Boston Tea Party, poor performance at work, and even the growing rejection of Global Warming.
The full article on Reactance at Harvard Business Review.