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!

The Power of a Smile

I have recently read some articles and passages regarding the importance of a smile. Not just to someone standing right in front of us, but to ourself in the moment we’re in right now. The benefits of smiling with other people is well-known, like the fact that people are more inclined to enjoy being around you if you smile a lot. But what I have found recently is how smiling can have huge power over our own feelings.

Fake it until you make it…

Smiling can change how we feel inside. I remember many years ago when I worked for a national retailing chain as a cashier/merchandiser. We were taught to “FAKE IT UNTIL YOU MAKE IT” – simply put, ACT happy until you BECOME happy – all for the sake of the customer’s experience. The funny thing is – it really works! Many times I went to work after a tough day at school and I was in a terrible mood (we all remember how much fun high school and college were, right?) but our policies required me to provide a quality customer service experience. By the end of my shift I was in a great mood! Until recently, I had forgotten this valuable tool, and now I am trying to use it more. I’m making a choice to be happy.

Putting a smile on your voice…

Recently, I was adding some sample voice recordings to an e-learning course I was working on. After starting the project, I had read how “putting a smile on your voice” can change how you sound on the telephone during interviews and other interactions. I decided to try smiling just before I pressed record and see how it impacted my voice and the message. IT MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE! I sounded much more pleasant in the newer recordings and the message felt totally different – it had intonation and was easier for the learner to feel my excitement for the information. Needless to say, I’m using this newfound technique more often!

My final thoughts…

Based on my own recent experiences, smiling has many positive benefits – in person and on the phone or in recordings..but more importantly – in my heart. Using a few simple techniques seems to pay dividends in the ways that count most. I can actually make a conscious choice to be happy.

When I’m around other that are smiling and having a good time, I’m having a good time, too. I have chosen to be that person that helps make the room a better place to be…

Have a wonderful day!