The Troubles You Endure Spring From Reactions You Regret

Rude drivers invite kneejerk reactions. He cut you off. You yell, “Ass hole!” (Perhaps there’s some gesticulation as well.)

Reacting is you with someone else in mind.

Reacting tricks you into believing you’re proactive.

Reacting defends bad with bad. She missed her deadline. You threw her under the bus. The board is out of touch. You keep them in the dark.

Reacting gives the illusion of power. Revenge, for example, feels powerful. But revenge is you governed by someone else.

Responsive not reactive:

Rise to useful response, not kneejerk reaction.

Victor Frankl and his family went to concentration camps in 1942. He lost his father, mother, and wife. In, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” he writes about the power to choose response.

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl


The difference between reaction and response is delay.

Take a breath, a walk, or a nap before taking action.

Questions that enable response:

  1. Why am I choosing this course of action?
  2. What contribution am I working to achieve?
  3. How am I serving the best interest of others?
  4. What alternatives are currently available? Create three alternatives before choosing your next step. (Too many alternatives paralyze.)
  5. What happens if…? Choose an option and run the scenario.
  6. What would dad say? Explore options from other people’s point of view.
  7. What if I do nothing? When tempted to react, doing nothing may serve you well.

Response tip:

Prepare a response before you need it.

What’s your prepared – first response – to…

  1. Missed deadlines?
  2. Team conflict?
  3. Negative feedback?


The troubles you endure spring from reactions you regret.

Reacting makes leaders unpredictable, untrustworthy, and ineffective.

What are the dangers/damages of kneejerk reactions?

How might leaders choose response over reaction?

Today’s project: Prepare your response to a challenge that is likely to occur today.

Bonus material:

React vs Respond (PT)

React vs Respond: Understanding the Difference (TheMindFool)