Response vs. React; theses words seem similar in semantics.I believe you must have come across the situation of stress for so many times in your life. You must have found yourself in the position of thinking on your feet. Some of us respond in these kinds of conditions and remaining react to the situation. A deep breath, a pause and a profound thought process are the only difference between the two.
What is Reaction?
Reactions are the outcome of thoughts from our subconscious mind when our filtration tool does not work i.e. there is no filtering process takes place in our mind when we react. We just litter that we have placed on our tongue. Actually, we run on auto –pilot mode. Reactions are like an untrained or newcomer salesman, who doesn’t know whom, how and where to sell but who just uses whole bag of tricks. Reactions always keep us on the slippery slope of loosing, that lose may be in form of a relation or a sale. So, eventual consequences of reactions are horrible and daunting.
What is Response?
Responses are always more thoughtful, when we response to anyone, it takes a little effort as well as time to do. When we respond to anyone, we must think about all consequences of our words those we are going to utter. Responses are more like the well trained salesman who knows how to get duck in a row and by using his wisdom he cuts the ground from under feet, so he waits patiently for his words. That means when you enter into any discussion with mindfulness, then you get to know what triggers you and you continue to observe yourself to refrain yourself from becoming victim of your own emotions. And of course we reap sweet fruits after becoming responsive to the situations.
The wise respond.
The foolish react.
The wise think and then act.
The foolish react and then regret.
Let’s Make it Understand
When we react, we let other control us, when we respond we are in control. Responding is based on facts and curiosity; Reacting is based on emotions, the past and defensiveness. Which one we use, alters our interactions.
Sometimes, we may find it impossible to change things outside yourself, but we must remember that life is not about what happens to you, it is more about how we tackle it.10% of life is made up of what happens to us and 90% of life is decided by how we respond/react.
Responding is slightly tougher than reacting as it requires patience and wisdom. A person who is unable to control any critical situation then he finds reacting very easy instead of responding. So many of times we get a jolt in our life and we find it difficult for us to keep ourselves cool in times of stress. Like a person gets tempted easily to bad habits, same principle works there. We find easy to react comparatively to respond.
So, how do you want to Act?
After having insightful discussion over reaction and response, most of us or in fact all of us must be thinking that what I do, when I find myself in the situation of stress. Some of us are reactors and some are responders. But reactors can easily sail through the problem with little efforts.
Many a times, we react in anger to someone due to our high emotions, and after some time we find there was not enough reason to react for me. I just reacted at that time, due to my reactive nature only. It happens with us mostly when we hear something that we don’t like or is undesired to us in some way.
We need to figure it out, what actually triggers us? Does event itself triggers us or our past experience is the reason? This process helps us to fetch our common triggers and blind spots.
When we are aware about our triggers, and we want to be responsive instead of reactive. Then we keep ourselves mindful in that particular situation and a little pause and calmness helps us to become responsive. We need to keep in our mind that we cannot judge anyone within a few milliseconds. We need practice to work on our reactive nature. Nothing is unachievable, when we have a defined goal. Still I would say it’s not so easy but not impossible to become a responsive person all the way. Even we cannot become 100% responsive, still we can achieve closeness to it. At least we can understand when do we run on auto pilot mode and how can we control it. When we are mindfully present into any discussion then we have sufficient space between the trigger and response.
If I paraphrase a Zig-Zagler’s quote, let’s imagine going to the doctor for medication and returning for a follow-up visit. Either doctor says your body is reacting to the medication or your body is responding to the treatment.
So, you can understand there is a huge difference between the reaction and response. If you want to inculcate the habit of response, you need to think about bigger picture of your life. You will think to response always when you find your reaction will affect your goals and achievements.