Do You React or Respond?

Nov 04, 2013

The DIFFERENCE Between the Two as Taught by Zig Ziglar by Hall of Fame Speaker and Author Floyd Wickman

I've been thinking a lot this week about my first opportunity to speak to the men’s group at my church.  It was during some of the toughest economic times that have ever hit my home town area in Michigan.  Preparing, I thought about those who would be in my audience – many of whom had lost their jobs, lost the equity they’d built in their homes, or postponed their retirement plans.  Some were facing even more adversities ahead.  How could my message move them to believe in themselves again?  How could I make a difference in their lives?

I decided to check with my Big Brother Zig.  Before long, we were discussing the Michigan economy and its unemployment rate, which was approaching an all-time high.   As always, he had a lesson for me.

“When adversity strikes, you have two choices:  to “react” or to “respond.”

I remember feeling confused when he said this.  I thought reacting and responding were the same thing.  The dictionary even uses one to define the other, so how could they be opposite choices? But Zig patiently explained the difference.  He said that we always have two choices when adversity comes along.  We can “react” negatively, suffering the consequences of the adversity.  Or we can choose to “respond” positively, turning the negatives into benefits, or as they say, “make lemons into lemonade.”

Imagine you are in a boxing ring.  You face your opponent.  You get hit hard and are knocked down to the mat.  You “react” by falling.  When you get back up to keep fighting, you have moved past the reaction.  Now, you are choosing to “respond.”

Every human being encounters changes in their lives that are negative.  It is part of being alive.  How we perceive those changes, choosing to “react” negatively or to “respond” positively, is completely up to each individual.  This is free will, and it is one of God’s gifts to us.  We are able to choose what we want to think and believe.

These times we live in have both adversities and opportunities aplenty!  Ask yourself:  Have you been reacting or responding?

I loved this lesson and wanted to share it from my new book, Lessons From My Brother Zig.  Learn more about it here!  I'd love to hear what you think!


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