We use the same letters from the alphabet to spell these two dynamic words with distinctly different, nearly opposite meanings. It’s a reminder of the choices we have when we are faced with challenging situations.
Reacting: Happens when we receive an upsetting phone call from a friend or family member, have frustrations at work, deadlines, worrisome health concerns or financial issues. It is an involuntary or automatic response.
Something hits us the wrong way and we get angry or upset and want to take immediate action to stop the pain. We push back against whoever or whatever is upsetting us. Argument with your spouse? Unreasonable demands from your boss? Impossible deadlines? We drive ourselves forward, even when we are exhausted, because that is what we have been trained to believe we must do to be successful. Unfortunately, this approach is likely to add more stress to the situation, slow-down our progress, or cause us to make mistakes, which are exactly opposite to the results most of us want.
Creating: Occurs when something comes out of our imagination or something beyond our physical brain. If you ever had an idea, that seemingly came from “out of the blue”, you know what I am talking about. It may have happened while you were in the shower, taking a walk, or driving your car. It happens naturally, when our mind is at rest and we are not trying to think our way out of a problem. Creative ideas require that we put a little space between us and the problem.
Most of us go through our days reacting. We quickly get upset, or churn a problem over and over in our mind. We spin our mental wheels, lock-down our minds and end up feeling overwhelmed and stressed. We push ourselves beyond exhaustion and wonder how we could make so many mistakes. Or, we jump into action, let the other person know just how upset we are with them, and end up making matters worse. In a business environment, lashing out at others can cause resentments and lead to more mistakes and missed deadlines.
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, we get better results when we refrain from reacting and instead step back from an issue. It is to our advantage, to put a little space between the phone call, work situation, health problems and financial worries, and any action on our part. Imagine placing the situation or problem on a shelf and walking away from it.
Here’s why this works. The natural state of the human mind, is calm and clear. When we “shelve a problem”, we give our brains a chance to reset. Like a muddy pond, when the dirt settles, the pond is clear and we can see the bottom. We can’t see the bottom of the pond, if we keep stirring the water.
A clear mind, is where creating takes place. It’s your competitive advantage in business and your super-power in your personal life.