Are you reacting … or responding?

Life is all about choices.

A short while ago I was gently reminded about this when my car started to act up. Suddenly, the car had issues starting. My initial instinct was to start thinking about everything that could be wrong – the starter, alternator, fuel pump, oh … I could go on … but really, that’s not the point of this post!

Thinking about what could be wrong was a choice … and it was the wrong one! It was wrong because it was “Stinking Thinking.” Stinking thinking is like poison in your mind – it kills any positive thoughts and even has a way of multiplying like a virus, and can (if you let it) spiral out of control.

Charles R. Swindoll said “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”

Dictionary.com says that to react is to “act or perform again”. A reaction can be either positive or negative – it can take you forward or backwards.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m just taking what Swindoll said a step further and saying there’s a distinct difference in how you react that makes a big difference to the outcome of the situation. I think that Swindoll was referring to how you respond to what has happened to you.The third definition on Dictionary.com for respond is “to react favourably”.

Responding is reacting favourably.

In the case of my car, I started to react poorly. However, I think it would be much better to respond. In my mind, the difference between reacting and responding is this: reacting is emotional and responding is intellectual or factual. Gather the information required and make a choice on how to proceed.

The factual approach can take longer, and definitely requires more self-control. As the saying goes, “cooler heads will prevail”. Avoid the urge to react and learn to respond, and I believe your life will get easier as you learn to reframe the events of your life.

I learned my lesson with the car – it was just a bad sensor… not the starter, the alternator, or anything else. A sensor! The part was less than $40, and there was about an hour’s labour.

My question for you today is – are you choosing to respond, or are you reacting?

I’ve resolved to make a conscious choice to respond versus react. I encourage you to do the same.

Have a great day!

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