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More than the problem, our inability to handle that problem disturbs us!

The reaction is instinctive, the response is intelligent!

Three women friends met in a restaurant after a long time. And yes, you can guess: lots of discussions, exchange of news and views — a load of information and data transfer. One of the ladies, with much interest, was sharing some facts about a cockroach. 

With much enthusiasm, she was telling how a cockroach can run three miles per hour. A cockroach can live a long time, perhaps a week without its head. It can change its direction 25 times in a second. There was non-stop excitement in her voice as she continued, "You know what, a cockroach has amazing adaptability. It can survive in any climate or condition – inside any crack, right from sewage pipe up to antennae on the top floor. In fact, a cockroach can survive even an attack of an atomic explosion, too."

Suddenly – a cockroach flew from nowhere and sat on her. Perhaps it was the cockroach's way to appreciate the praise. She started screaming out of fear. With panic and trembling voice, she started doing stationary jumping with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach. The other two ladies started giving her chorus. It was more of a contagious reaction. The lady finally managed to push the cockroach onto another lady. Now it was the turn of another lady to continue the drama. 

While this was going on, one of the waiters rushed to their rescue. In the relay race of throwing cockroach, it landed upon the waiter. 

But, the waiter stood firm, composed himself, and observed its movement on his shirt. When he was confident enough, the waiter grabbed cockroach with his fingers and threw it out of the window.

Here are some questions for you. Was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior? If yes, then why the waiter was not perturbed? He handled it to near perfection without any chaos.

It was not the cockroach, but the inability of those ladies to handle the situation caused by that cockroach disturbed them.

It was not the cockroach, but the inability of those ladies to handle the situation caused by that cockroach disturbed them.

We see in our daily lives; many things disturb us. Some irate us, frustrate us or make us sad. What do we do with them? Most of the time – we react!

It is a natural human tendency to react. However, I think a response has more to offer than mere reaction. 

One of the main reasons - a response is often treated as positive behavior while a reaction is seen as a negative one. 

Moreover, how you respond or react also affects the outcome. A response produces different outcomes than a reaction will do. A response can create more positive, acceptable results than a reaction can.

A response can produce more positive, acceptable results than a reaction can.

To put it simply, between the stimuli and our response to it, if there is nothing, it results in a reaction. 

But, if between stimuli and response, we fill the gap with our thinking, we respond.

Think about the traffic - it is not the traffic that disturbs us. What really annoys us is our inability to handle the disturbance and frustration caused by the traffic. If we know how to keep calm or find a better way out of that traffic, we don't dwell on it much. We respond and take action.

It is not someone shouting at us that disturbs us, our inability to handle that situation disturbs us. 

So, more than the problem, it is our reaction to the problem, which hurts us more!

The point is

Now the key question is, how do we outgrow this limitation? 

As I understood, we should not always react. We should respond. 

Reactions come from instinct; responses come from the intellect.

Don't react; respond!

Reactions come from instinct, responses come from the intellect. Don’t react; respond!

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