In life, we always have a choice, even when plans go awry. Do you react or do you respond when things go wrong? Here’s some food for thought.
What It Means To React
A reaction is often void of thought, sometimes it’s instinctual—the fight or flight way we are evolutionarily programmed to protect ourselves. In times of true danger, this is beneficial. However, plans gone awry isn’t something to be feared, so a fear-based reaction often blows things out of proportion.
What It Means To Respond
A response requires a pause, enough time to think before speaking or taking action. A response may require asking more questions or gaining more knowledge and information. There may be emotion, but a response is rooted more in though than feeling.
Sometimes We Do Both
We should strive to respond more than we react, but even when we react first—we should circle back and respond second. Sometimes after a reaction, damage has been done that we need to try to repair along with our revised response.
We are human and won’t always get our communication right, but the goal is to try to do better next time.