Stephen R Covey wrote that change comes when you recognise that there is a space between what happens to you and how you respond to it.
In recognising that space you have an opportunity to stop reacting to what happens to you and instead respond.
There is of course a huge difference between reacting and responding, and that is where the change dynamic can take place. Because responding is just the right thing to do. Right?
The word ‘respond’ elicits a different meaning to the word ‘react’. It suggests that you have paused and considered what happened. You have assessed what the implications are and have likely thought about any downsides or upsides from what has happened.
You will have also taken into account how you should respond and what the effects will be on those around you.
You will probably do this within a very short period of time, but you will have recognised that something has happened to you and that you have the space to respond.
In those situations your response is likely to be delivered in calm and confident manner, and even if what has happened has angered you your response will be emotionally controlled.
Wouldn’t the world be a chilled and calm place if this was how we all responded when something happened to us.
Reacting is sadly what we see all to often in today’s busy frantic world. People forgetting in an instant that there is a space between what happens to you and how you react/respond.
We have all seen it happen and more than likely experienced it…
Someone cuts in front of you whilst driving, or your children make a mess, or something precious gets broken.
Whatever has happened the impulsive reaction is to be angry. To shout, wave your arms about and get annoyed or worse.
That helped didn’t it…
And that’s the point. It doesn’t help. You might think you feel better for having spent some frustration by shouting, but you will most likely have upset the person you are angry with, which depending on how they are will either elicit another reaction or a response.
The exposed Weakness — Change
That’s the point. When you see yourself ‘reacting’ it’s just exposing your resistance to change.
Changing comes when you start to understand that there is a gap, space or period between when something happens to you and your response to it. I know I have laboured the point (for me, as much as my readers) but it is so important to appreciate that this space does exist. Once you can accept that fact, you can start to change.
I accept it’s not easy. We are all human and none of us are perfect.
But that shouldn’t stop us from trying.
When someone cuts in front of me, or undertakes me it annoys me and my impulsive desire is to react. To shout, consider some hand communication etc. But who does it help? No one.
Change! Tomorrow when something happens to you, remember that space and change. Take a deep breath, give yourself some time and consider an unemotional way to respond.
Let me know how you get on in the comments, and thanks for reading.