React, Respond, Or Pause

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I once had a great mentor remind me of the difference between 'reacting' and 'responding'. He said that "reacting is reaching in the toolbox, pulling out a hammer, and smashing anything in front of you; regardless of the job at hand. The responders open the tool box and carefully assess the situation. They pick the right tool for the right time and job at hand, and then apply the tool."

The moral of the story: Don't react. Respond.

With the amount of communication that takes place on a daily basis, I wind up seeing more people reacting than responding. I think it's really important to be careful not to react but respond when manicuring your texts, calls, and emails.

When your spouse or kid asks you a question, I highly recommend you respond. Sometimes, it's easy to confuse yourself; given all the different people you speak with each day. But you have to keep in mind the importance of taking the time to answer and respond to the most significant people's questions properly. It's different for someone you rarely see or hear from. Sometimes, taking more time to respond is better than offering a quick reaction to people you care most about.

I see people giving incredibly long responses. Maybe pick up the phone instead? Or pause and think to yourself: Do you really need to send this lengthy of a response to someone you barely even know? to people they don't know, and short responses to people they do know. Remember, communication is so integral to becoming successful, but all communication is not equal.

Throughout most of the day, I carefully choose to respond rather than react to things based on how much I consider each to be important. A key I usually do is wait until later on when I have more time to consider and give a real response. I'm notorious for short one or two word reactions, but don't think I'm ignoring you.

Ignoring texts and emails is never a good thing. Over-responding is never a good thing. You have to learn the proper balance between the two. Since most people experience multiple hours of conversation and interaction a day; particularly at work, it's critical you learn how to handle them all.


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Quote of the Day: "I learned that a long walk and calm conversation are a great combination if you want to build a bridge" - Seth Godin

Song of the Day: "Stressed Out" by Twenty One Pilots

1 comment

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