Responding or Reacting?

How often do we read about the two percent of people who do things differently?

They go the opposite route from the tide of emotion or feelings of the general population and practise a counter-culture mindset.

Some of those people are long term thinkers when it comes to stocks. They buy when others are selling and experience greater profits when the share recovers.

At first, we might go for anything to get us some momentum. However, once we have some wisdom, made some mistakes and been down some alleys that we do not wish to try for a second time, we start to be able to learn.

Mark Twain once said, “whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it’s time to pause and reflect.”

Because of my anxiety disorders and fears over the years, I have often behaved very erratically under pressure and have been talked into deals that have wrecked my prospects and opinions that I might not agree with if I had the time and prudence to look into with more detail.

After automatically reacting along with the crowd and bearing the consequences, I have found myself reflecting and seeing where my choice took me in the wrong direction.

Standing back and rummaging through the memories, I think that over the decades, I have been ‘reactionary’ rather than a ‘responsive’.

This applies to a plethora of opportunities and events that have come across my path.

While both reacting and responding seem to be similar, I have found that when I react: it is quick, impulsive, not thought out for the possible outcomes and often ‘defensive’, as if to deflect some threat.

That type of fast reaction is definitely welcome when you pull off one of those amazing automatic, unconscious manoeuvres when avoiding a high-speed collision between vehicles.

It is that fight or flight which keeps us safe.

But these days, when confronted with less ‘life-threatening’ challenges, I try not to give an immediate action, either verbal or physical.

Often we proclaim something as unequivocal truth, only to find later up the track that we missed something or a piece of the puzzle was missing that we just couldn’t see at the time. In our mathematical equations, we find that when that one missing factor is applied, it can alter the entire outcome and that’s the same with people.

I practise responding after thinking things out logically and with the welfare of all in mind.

The unexamined life is not worth living.

– Socrates.

It is common that when we are pressured into answering someone, we make mistakes.

Reflect for yourself on where your considered actions and responses have brought peace and more beneficial outcomes.

See where the benefit of that pause lays?

Rhonda and I have learned not to respond to that deal that might disappear or the pressure of a salesperson who doesn’t want us thinking too much about the implications of what we are about to do.

Leonardo da Vinci said it best:

“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer, since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power of judgment. Go some distance away, because then the work appears smaller, and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”

– Leonardo da Vinci

Let me share one way that we have learned to respond instead of reacting. We take a break. We step back. We reflect, realign and reset our goals.

I remind myself and my clients that there is a road for you that no one else can walk and there are good things in store for you.

Remember that being different is your biggest asset and you don’t have to be like everyone else. If you need a career coach, drop me an email or private message today to get you on the right track.

Dave Brebner.

Dave Brebner – Career Coach

Dave is an Adult Educator, Speaker and Youth leader living in Western Sydney, Australia. He has Diplomas in Business and Training, a Bachelors Degree in Adult Education, Vocational and Workplace Training and a Masters of Education with a major in Career Development. He has lived with Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety Disorders since an early age, you can read his story online. He is married with 6 children. He is a passionate coach and mentor to young people especially in the vocational guidance and career development areas. Dave is a professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia and has authored a course on Living with Tourette’s which you can study and purchase online through his website –

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