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As human BEings, we have the unique #ability to be present and #respond to our surroundings and circumstances on a higher, more conscious, level. How amazing is that? Very amazing. And yet, many of us decide not to. Why?

There's a significant difference between "reacting" and "responding". The former can be very unpredictable and sporadic, often shocking to the system, while the latter is a more thoughtful, mindful, and proactive approach, in the context of communication. Understandably, it is initially more difficult to respond to a situation, when reacting feels all the more natural. However, strengthening the ability to respond will prove itself to be a meaningful practice, worth fine-tuning on a daily basis, when its expansive benefits are realized.

Response+Ability 101

“What you are perceiving externally is all just a reflection of how you are feeling internally.”

How many times have you experienced interactions where your words seemed to make their way out of your mouth, before your thought process even had the chance to catch up? How many situations would not have been as emotionally draining, had there been some moment of pause and reflection early on? Could a lot of misunderstanding have been prevented, through a less heated or rapid exchange? We have all been there. And with the many interactions we are faced with in workplace settings, especially, there is bound to be at least one that will ruffle our feathers and throw us off our game, now and then. So, if there was a key to help prepare you for such unpredictable situations, wouldn't you take it? Good thing, there is!

The key is to remember how much control you have over your actions and how little control you have over other people's actions. No matter how jarring or unexpected an occurrence may be in your external world, you have all the ability to perceive it in such a way that it does not disrupt your internal world. It is all about #perception.

For example, imagine you are just going about your day, having done your work to the best of your ability, and all of a sudden, your supervisor or colleague comes up to you and verbally attacks the substance of your work, the quality, or the way in which you went about delivering it. The common feedback to such an attack would either be a defensive reaction or possibly a defeatist retreat back to your workspace. Alternatively, you could #respond by taking a brief moment to hear the supervisor or colleague out, remembering that you did the best you could with the work that you ultimately produced, and calmly requesting for further clarification, if necessary. It is very likely that the tone in which the criticism was delivered in that scenario had more to do with the circumstances in the critic's own life, and less to do with the actual work itself. Being able to perceive the situation in a more holistic way, separating the critic from the criticism, and not taking the delivery personally, can do wonders in regards to the productivity of such discussions.

This practice is not only applicable in your work life. It can be of profound use in many other aspects of your life as well. How you respond to your children, your spouse, your friends, your family, your pain, your health, your happiness... what you are perceiving externally is all just a reflection of how you are feeling internally. Take a moment to always check in with yourself, remember that you are doing the best you can be doing, try to separate the actor from the action, and respond accordingly, with the utmost regard for your health and well-being. Naturally, then, those who you are interacting with will also be inspired to take an introspective look and be a little more thoughtful. Or they may not. That is not the issue. Your only responsibility is to be attentive to your response ability.

Final Note

Oftentimes, we shy away from accepting responsibility for our circumstances, because seeing ourselves as possibly the lead architect of our suffering is a hard pill to swallow. Too much pressure. Better to evade responsibility altogether or share the load with other potential factors. This common outlook, however, is not efficient.

Little by little, once you fully understand that your joy, your happiness, and your peacefulness must not be dependent on how the world responds to you, but how you respond to the world, as a responsible human BEing, you will embrace this responsibility and find excitement in doing whatever you can to create more and more harmony in your world.


If it were up to you, would you choose to be blissful or miserable? You may not know what the future holds, but you sure know who holds your future. It is you.

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