Life happens. Well, maybe you didn't drop your ice cream cone on the ground after standing in line for over 30 minutes to get it on a "Hot" Alabama afternoon! But, you understand that feeling, right? Good things happen and bad things happen. They happen to everyone and seemingly in a totally random set of events and circumstances. We can argue about why these things happen and what causes certain events to take place but the fact remains...Life Happens!
We can choose to react to life. Or we can choose to respond to life.
What's the difference between "reacting" and "responding?" When you react you do so from a primitive mindset of self-preservation and it usually translates to something negative. We think thoughts like "OF COURSE this HAD to happen to me." When we react, our emotions take a central role. The hair on our neck stands on end. We feel our stomach turn. Our face heats up and our defenses are on high alert. We know reactions when we see it. In fact, some people on the other side will intentionally stoke the fires, especially when they know we will react. They know if they poke we will coil up and be ready to react in a full way. There is a downside to reacting. We let emotions without reason drive us forward. We lose control. Reacting is sporadic and emotional. The upside may be passion, but our passion needs to be centered on purpose, not an unexpected, unproductive stimulus.
On the flip side of that coin is response. Responding is more thoughtful. Responses contain reasoning. The difference may be this: Responding is guided less by emotion and more by logic. A response is more active, and it can totally change the direction of an interaction. When you respond to life, you can be more proactive. You can look at even the most negative event and search for the hidden opportunity. You can remind yourself that most successful people found success out of problems and struggles. Maybe this moment is YOUR BIG OPPORTUNITY? Not convinced yet? Let me give you some tools to work with that will help you get there.
You Might Want To Write This Down
To respond in a more mindful way instead of reacting, these four steps may help:
Step 1: Breathing
Maintaining evenly-paced breathing is essential. Adjust your breathing to a reasonable rhythm. By focusing on your breathing, you will bring your mind and thoughts under control with each breath. Focusing on your breathing means that now you can regain your concentration.
Step 2: Awareness of body
With each breath, become more aware of your body. Being more aware helps to bring the heat of the moment under control. Pay attention to things like your face heating up or your palms getting sweaty. With your focus now on your breathing, you can also bring your body into a steady state of calm and therefore calming your systems down.
Step 3: Releasing tension
With each breathe and raised awareness, you shift from automatic into control and are able to release tensions. You can then let go and become more centered in your own authenticity. Releasing tension returns you to your principles and calmer ways of interacting.
Step 4: Raising attentiveness
When you are able to maintain your inner calmness and strength, you listen to what is being said more intently, and observe the way in which it is being said. As you begin to construct your response your increased attentiveness will enable you to respond more thoughtfully and, if needed, begin to direct the exchange in a direction of collaboration or more productive areas of discussion.
Okay, so you probably already know what I am about to say...but I'll say it anyway. This is a "process" and with all processes it takes time to see results. Trust me, living your life on automatic is no thrill. Reacting to life's stuff isn't good for anyone and it is a sure fire way to be out of balance and fail royally.
"Ain't Nobody Got Time For That!"
When things don't the way you plan today, remember the following quote and immediately hunt for that opportunity. It's there. You just have to find it.
"Health, happiness and success depend upon the fighting spirit of each person. The big thing is not what happens to us in life - but what we do about what happens to us." ~George Allen
Here's to your success!
Beverly Jones-Durr is a Dynamic Speaker, Certified Life Mastery Strategist and Educational Facilitator. She is also known as the “Clarity Ninja and Mindset Shifter” because she teaches clients, consultants and other service professionals how to eliminate the fog, remove the clutter and shift their focus to their purposeful and intentional path so that they can get stuff done. She creates courses that help you to develop your authentic self, build a positive and powerful mindset and create real time action plans that are both attainable and measureable. Check out "Four Road Blocks Keeping You from Getting What You want", a four part video series that puts you on course to mastering all areas of your life. You can also follow Beverly 0n Twitter, FaceBook and YouTube