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First Reactions - Grasshopper

The older I get, the more I notice first reactions, not only by me, but by others as well.

A first reaction is your patterned way of saying or doing things when given a specific stimulus.

 

For example, someone asks, “How are you?” and you respond, “Fine.”

 

We’ve been conditioned to give that reaction and we do it, on cue, almost all the time.

 

But what about the reactions that get in our way? They happen with the same frequency, sorry to say.

 

Reminds me of my golfing outing today. Me and my friend were paired up with two other men to play the round. One of the two was getting in his own way from his very first shot. When he hit a poor shot, which happens a lot when you’re a weekend hacker like we all were, he started berating himself and occasionally throwing his club in disgust.

 

Personal Sidebar: Whether I’m playing tiddlywinks, badminton, or golf, I much prefer not to be in the company of angry people.

 

Back to golf. We all hit our share of lousy shots, but for three of us, our first reaction didn’t go past a quick expression of disappointment before moving on to our next shot. Not this guy. He continued his diatribe, ad nauseam, for the entire round.

 

My guess is he is his own worst enemy, not only on the golf course, but in life as well. What he doesn’t notice is that there are a bevy of responses available to him lined up after his first reaction. If he, and we, would take a slight pause before reacting as we commonly do, and consider one of those other responses, we would respond much better to the realities of life.

 

We are robotic when we react. That’s great if a bus is coming at you and you jump out of the way. But patterned reactions are problematic when they get in our way.

 

Begin to notice that you have an infinite number of responses to any given stimulus, and if you offer one that’s further down the line, you may come up with a less perfunctory and more entertaining answer than “fine.”

 

All the best,

John

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