Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That’s a universal law and how can we stop doing that. Of course, we don’t stop reacting but start reacting in a more sensible way and that is called responding. When looked keenly, reacting and responding has a huge difference. A reaction is instant, typically quick, without much thought. A reaction doesn’t take into consideration long term effects of what you do or say. All your sudden thoughts and actions are reactions that can make you regret later.

While responding is a thought out, calm action that comes more slowly. Responding takes into consideration of the well being, long term effects and the core values. For example, if you are a boss and someone is unable to do a job you said, you should not start shouting at him or punish him. That is reacting and if you do he might resign and you will lose an employee. But if you take some time to analyze why he couldn’t do, you may come to know his difficulty and you may help him get out of it. That is responding and you may earn a worker who is grateful to you. This is the same for all the people we see day to day. When we start responding there is more clarity and that provides a way for better living.

Ways to practice responding:

  • Be mindful: Being mindful means watching ourselves when something happens and having close attention to how our minds react.
  • Pause: Pause that initial urge to say or to do something. That is often an emotional thought. Keep that thought to yourself.
  • Change Perspective: Look at the things in a different way, from another perspective you may think what happened was not wrong.
  • Have Patience: Everything doesn’t come fast, so is the habit of responding. Have patience if you mess up at first, you will improve gradually to see how your life changes.

It’s not the situation, but whether we react negative or respond positive to the situation that is important.

– Zig Ziglar



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