Though the words, “Respond” and “React” are similar, the difference is quite significant. I still recall, more than 20 years ago, on one of his audio programs, Zig Ziglar asking, “Did you respond well to the medication your doctor prescribed, or did you have a bad reaction?”
The Sages asked, “Who is mighty?” and answered, “He who can control his inclinations.” A later interpretation of that answer was, “He who can control his own emotions and make, of an enemy, a friend.”
When you react, you are being controlled by outside circumstances, whether a difficult situation or person. When you respond, however, you are in control of yourself, of your emotions. In other words, as my Dad says, “You’re the boss of yourself” . . . and then – and only then – are you in a position to take a potentially negative situation and turn it into something positive for you and for everyone involved.
In Part Two, we’ll look at one example of how this played out in real life.
First, though, how has it played out for you (either positively or negatively) and others you know? Let’s all learn from each other’s experiences.