Do you Respond or React?

According to Bob Proctor, the real trick in life is learning to respond to what happens around us instead of reacting. That isn’t always easy; it takes practice. For some of us, it takes a LOT of practice.
I’ve always had a quick temper. It’s a flash-in-the-pan kind of thing. I get angry easily, react, then cool off before most people know what happened. That’s reacting.
Of course, this isn’t the first time I heard someone talk about responding. I’ve been working on this one habit for years. And yes! it is a habit, which means I can change it. In a recent talk, Bob told about a 15-year-old in one of his seminars who, when asked about the difference between responding a reacting, remarked, “Reacting is a habit; to respond, you must think.” How true. That really spoke to me. This is one habit that I must change.
I am currently facilitating a Bible Study in the Book of James. James also speaks to this. He says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” There is that gap of time for thinking…the “slow to speak” gap. Zig Ziglar wrote a wonderful column about anger, which he says is part of danger.
This is not encouragement to remain silent. Instead, it is encouragement to think before we speak. Someone said we need to engage our brains before putting our mouths in motion. That’s good advice. It helps prevent Foot-in-Mouth Disease!
Bob shared three other quotes that speak so well to this topic. I can relate to all of them.
“Those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them back; and then, you destroy yourself.” Isn’t that good? This was spoken by a former President of the United States, who did some great things during his presidency. Then, he became mired in a scandal that forced him from office. His name was Richard Nixon. I don’t know when he wrote this, but I wonder if it wasn’t after he had left the White House and was working on putting his life back together.
Elizabeth Kenning (I believe that’s who Bob Proctor said it was) said, “He who angers you, conquors you.” Wow! That speaks to the little girl inside me who was not well-accepted in school. I grew up a minority and endured a lot of teasing. I hated to be conquored, and I seldom showed my anger at school–at least not in a way that was recognizable. I wish someone had told me this rather than just the standard, “sticks and stones” ditty.
Finally, one of my all-time heroes, Booker T. Washington, remarked, “I will allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate them.” He set a marvelous example as one of the most pro-active and caring men of his day. He worked tirelessly to assure that even the least advantaged men and women could receive a good, post-secondary education. His quote is an inspiration to me. A black man, he lived during a time when men of color were looked down on and belittled. Yet, he responded with love and positive action.
Finally, Bob repeated what I have told my own kids, and I have heard many times from others: “You don’t have to like them; you just have to love them.” Jesus told us the same thing. It’s all about loving our fellow man. By loving, we send out positive energy. It’s hard to not feel good when you are busy loving those around you and doing what is best for them.
I have determined that is will be my touchstone for the rest of December: Respond, don’t react. Will you? Try it, and let’s share our results.

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