Turning he old admonishment around produces some surprising thoughts: When faced with a calamity, stop and think; Look before you leap; What if…?; How could I respond, rather than reacting to this situation?
Learning – or remembering – to respond rather than react to events can be a hard, specially in the heat of the moment.
It starts with realisation or awareness that there is a difference between the two, and that you can do it. Think of situations where you have responded rather than reacting. Work, parenting, relationships or crises. Moments that made you proud of your cool-headedness. Find situations where you reflected and chose your response before acting. The ‘hotter’ the situation the more it confirms a strength in you.
Then comes practice: starting to apply the principle in non-threatening situations to get the hang of it. Remember “practice makes perfect”, keep at it and make it a habit.*
That’s it! That’s all you have to do. Make it a habit and you’ll start to see it creeping into those ‘hot button’ moments where in the past you might have let yourself down.
* “Easier said than done”, you might say. How to do this is probably the most common questions in my workshops on Handling Difficult People. I’ll be covering this in more detail, with practical guidance, later on.