Reacting vs. Responding

In case you missed it, Villanova’s basketball coach didn’t look too excited when his team won the the NCAA National Championship on Monday night:

Some people called it cocky. Some people referred to it as arrogance. But do you know what it really was?

Jay Wright chooses to respond instead of simply reacting. There’s a difference. A reaction is an emotional outburst to a sudden stimuli. Our limbic system and pre-frontal cortex both help us react to certain stimuli to keep us alive as part of our “fight or flight” system. That’s a good thing. However, since we rarely encounter life threatening situations, our brain spends a lot of time scanning for threats it never finds so our bodies sometimes start reacting to lesser threats.

A response, on the other hand, is a conscious, carefully considered reply to a situation we encounter. Jay Wright was in full response mode at the end of that game. Instead of reacting to the win, he was running through all of the scenarios in his mind before he allowed himself to respond. He was choosing how he wanted to show up.

Ultra successful people learn how to react less and respond more. You have a choice about how you show up in the world. Choose wisely.

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