The Gift Most Often Left Unopened - Response - Grasshopper
One of the greatest gifts we've ever been given remains overlooked in a corner as though it's a brown paper package tied up with string. If opened, it will become one of your favorite things.
The gift of response gives you a glimpse of a world you rarely see. It's always there behind a conditioned curtain waiting to show you new vistas and illuminated paths to walk.
The conditioning that keeps the curtain in place, hiding our route to the Emerald City, is reaction.
Reaction is like fool's gold. Because it's readily available, we think it's valuable.
Reaction does have value but it's exponentially overused. Reminds me of a story . . .
Back when my job was coaching radio talent, even the most talented among them had pet phrases that they would use over and over. The phrase they used was appropriate from time to time, but a regular dose of it kept them less imaginative.
When I heard them using the word or phrase a bit too often, they would get the "Plaid Sport Coat" speech. I would say, "Imagine that someone owns a very 'loud' plaid sport coat. Now ask yourself, 'How many times would they have to wear it for you to remember them only for that coat?'" Usually the answer was two or three times.
Your reaction may be out of fashion simply because you've worn it to death.
It may be time to look in the corner and unwrap your response.
How do you tell the difference between a reaction and a response? - Reaction time!
A reaction is there quicker than a beggar at a buffet; a response takes a bit longer to arrive.
It would have arrived sooner but your reaction was strewn across all lanes of your personal information highway holding up traffic.
A response is rarely your first reaction to a situation; it's much farther back in the pack.
Your first reaction is almost always conditioned. What that means is that it's robotic. You had no say in its arrival because it came out automatically without you having a chance to exercise your free will.
Reactions make you predictable and keep you stuck.
The gift of response opens up when you take time to notice that you are reacting. When you notice that you have just given, or are about to give a predictable reaction, that's the time to just wait before speaking or acting again. Begin to notice all the choices on the menu besides the one you always order first.
After this brief moment of consideration, you can select the gift of response. A response will take you where a reaction can't travel because a reaction is too busy going around in circles and arriving at the same place.
A response unleashes creativity; a reaction mires you in the mundane.
Take just a half hour of your day today and notice how often you react. Also notice that your reaction gets you the very same thing again and again. It's like going to the same movie for the hundredth time and expecting it to end differently.
A response is deliberately chosen after you've allowed yourself permission to pass over your reaction.
Given a choice, how many times would you pick the plaid sport coat?
All the best,
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