How to Think Better: react vs. respond

Have you ever thought about the difference between a reaction and a response? On the surface, they may seem similar, but the distinction makes a difference.

A reaction

A reaction is the knee jerk.

Someone is rude to you and you react in a rude manner in return.

We’ve all been there. Reacted, swiftly and without thought.

There’s often fallout from a reaction. Sometimes even a residue of shame because when the dust settles it’s clear the reaction wasn’t proportionate to what triggered it.

Can you recall a time when you reacted and felt sheepish afterwards?

A response

A response, on the other hand, has a space in it—a space between the event and the action you take. It’s considered.

When you respond—as opposed to react—your values and how you want to show up in the world are reflected.

While not always easy or effortless, true responses to situations are rarely followed by shame, stress, or second guessing your behavior.

React vs. respond

React. Respond. You always have a choice.

How can you be more mindful next time you have a choice between reacting vs. responding?