Responding requires training

How would you rate your ability to respond rather than react?

Your ability to step between what is presented to you expectedly or unexpectedly and consider a response before immediately reacting can sometimes be very important.

Sometimes a reaction is needed, sure, but even that can be trained in advance such that it becomes more of a deliberate response.

Case in point….

A big emphasis of martial arts training over the years spent with Capoeira was the ability to sharpen reaction time to move swiftly out of the way of an oncoming movement directed towards you.

We’d trained this thousands of times under different settings and against different movements across continents.

One evening I was heading back to my dorm room and two flat mates were playing their own version of indoor soccer.

Only thing was I did not know that!

As I walked into the open lounge area where they were kicking off, a ball was hurtling through the air towards my head at speed.

I scanned it, saw it coming straight at me with no let up and then something interesting happened.

The ball appeared to be almost moving in slow motion which gave sufficient time to calmly side step and let the ball carry on it’s trajectory and hurtle right past me.

A literal example for sure yet the training to respond in that moment really helped.

Rather than react and probably get walloped in the head by the soccer ball I knew what to do. I knew how to respond.

Check this out from Covey.

“Look at the word responsibility—’response-ability’—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.”

What’s a behaviour you could train such that rather than react you can respond?

e.g instead of reacting to the stress and pressure of exams by last minute studying, why not study way in advance in incremental consistent steps that lead you up to the moment with more preparation?

What does increased response – ability look like to you?



p.s. be prepared for deliberate + purposeful practice. It will be worth it.

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