Our initial response to many situations may not always be best, learning or practicing the art of pausing before reacting can prove helpful while climbing the ladder of career or even business.
We all have the experience of reacting in a particular way – most of the time in an unwarranted manner – while hearing bad news, or being unfairly criticized, or being told something we don’t want to hear. In a way this makes sense because when one’s emotions are triggered, it tend to take center stage, inhibiting our ability to pause before we speak, I feel. One may feel compelled to release the tension by expressing ourselves in some way, whether it’s yelling back at the person yelling at us. However, there is much to be said for teaching ourselves to remember to pause before we respond to the shocks and insults that can come our way in life.
For one thing, one’s initial response is not always the best for both the people involved. Reacting to a childish rage with an equally matching childish rage will only escalate the negativity in the situation, further catching us in an undesirable situation. Similarly, if we react defensively, or thoughtlessly, we often end up regretting over one’s own words or actions. This doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t say anything or react vociferously, although in some cases, that may be the best option.
Some situations will, of course, require a fairly immediate response, but even in such situation if one could hold on for just a moment before we do so can help to a large extent. The next time you find yourself wanting to react, try to pause a second and then see the difference. Should wait for a response to arise within, rather than just shooting with the first thing that pops out of one’s head. In that moment, one will realise that there is an option to move beyond a wild reaction and settle for a subtle response. This can pave way for a new understanding.
Madhu K. Nair [19th August 2008]