Too often and too quickly we rush to judge, decide, and label an event as soon as it happens. Of the four religions/philosophies I have spent time studying, all of them caution against this rush to judgement. I was guilty of it myself this week, and it reminded me of one of my favorite Buddhist/Taoist fables.
Though small, the gap you see in the right-hand column of the respond model makes a big difference. It is THE difference between reacting and responding. This gap is where character, maturity, and wisdom reside.
Respond or React?
When something unexpected occurs, do you respond to it or do you react to it? Zig Ziglar said, “When you respond to life that’s positive, when you react to life that’s negative.” Zig goes on to make the comparison to medicine. If it works, it means your body is responding to it, if instead the side effects are kicking in, the doctor tells you that your body is reacting to the medicine.
Also, think about why they call it a nuclear reactor and why they call them first responders and not the other way around. If you’ve been in an accident and are hurt, do you want a first reactor rushing to the scene? Or would you prefer they be a first responder?
Respond or react? It’s a subtle difference in the decision with a substantial difference in the results. Be aware of the choice you make.
When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
When I see an anxious person, I ask myself, what do they want? For if a person wasn’t wanting something outside of their own control, why would they be stricken by anxiety?
Imagine taking all the money you have along with all that you can possibly borrow and then betting EVERY SINGLE PENNY of it that some stranger was going to trip and fall flat on his face while walking down the street on a specific day. No scientific reason behind it, you just have a hunch. Then imagine telling the world you were going to do it the week before the actual day of the bet. Don’t you think that sounds absolutely bat-shit crazy?
Me too. But there’s a guy out there who doesn’t. Here’s his story.
Our family has been watching the new National Geographic mini-series, Mars. I originally wanted to watch for the science, but the whole family got sucked into the story. One scene in particular stuck with me, possibly because they used the same scene in both the first and the last episode, but I think it would have resonated either way.
The Mission Commander, Ben Swayer, addresses the crew before they are about to embark on a seven-month journey that kicks off their 4-year mission away from earth, friend, family, and everything they’ve ever known.
“I want you to stop and ask yourself what really is important to you about this mission. And if the answer to that question is not the most important thing in your life then I’m gonna invite you to walk out that door and go pursue whatever that thing is.”
What a great question.
May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.