Oh, is it “Way Back Wednesday” already? Just so happens I have a Grasshopper quote from “back in the day” that is just as useful today.
“Notice Your Reactions And You’ll Notice Your Patterns.“
We are all creatures of habit and no more is that so than when we are reacting.
The way to outgrow a reaction is to notice it just before it is about to happen or while it’s happening. That’s a choice point. You are noticing your patterned reaction about to kick in or you are noticing it in midstream. Either way, you have an opportunity to make an alternate choice – one not so predictable or limiting.
We have a patterned way of reacting. Just notice your answers to the “What would you do?” type questions. A friend in a predicament asks, “What would you do if you were me?” Notice that you give a patterned answer. It may or may not be a valuable answer, but you can bet that it’s a reactive one.
You draw on your patterned way of doing things. That pattern has gotten you a certain percentage of victories and defeats. The percentage will remain the same throughout your life if your patterns remain the same.
When you begin to notice your reactions to things, you give yourself an opportunity to notice your patterns and grow. What is your reaction to a person from the political party you don’t support when they espouse one of their tried, true and “tired” talking points? How about the commercial on TV glowingly advertising a product you know is “crap.” What is your reaction? I have just cited two of my reactions; there are hundreds, if not thousands, more that I own.
The real question is: Do I own them or do they own me? Sadly, they own me until . . . I notice.
Do you want to be defined by a reaction? You already are because your reactions own you.
Do you want to be the stimulus or do you want to be the reaction?
If you want to be the reaction, do nothing and nothing will change. If you want to be the stimulus, you have to notice that you are reacting and interrupt that reaction.
We have to employ a third element in order to outgrow our reactions. We currently only use two – Stimulus and Reaction. Our whole life is on a predictable track until we notice. Noticing is the third element. It’s the switch that can put us on a new track.
You can continue to defend your reactions or you can notice and interrupt them and find out, with more certainty, if they’re worth defending.
It could just as easily be said: Notice your prejudices and you’ll notice your patterns. A prejudice is nothing more than a conditioned reaction.
You either want to grow or you don’t. If you do, start noticing the reactions that cause you to stew. It’s the first step in cooking up something new.
All the best,
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