Control Your Response

A car cuts us off in traffic. Someone is late to a meeting and we have to wait. There is a decision made that affects how we do our job. We are running a project and a decision we made gets overturned. This is the second part of the Build Your Pyramid Series and focuses on how we respond to all the negative situations we encounter that we just know deep down inside that we can fix by taking action directly against them. Unfortunately, these are all scenarios in which our traditional knowledge concerning response versus reaction is wrong; resulting in lost sleep, sometimes temper, damaged relationships and worse than ideal outcomes.

That’s because we often make the mistake of thinking we can control more than possible; leading us to experience increased levels of stress and anxiety. In that struggle for control, we often attempt to claim (or reclaim) control of various circumstances and situations by embracing a feeling of personal responsibility for the actions of other people. Add to this the unforeseen event that has nothing to do with anyone involved and our stress over feeling as if we have lost control becomes overwhelming. What if instead we focused on identifying the nature of these situations for what they are and then responding in a way that allows us to influence the outcome.

This distinction may seem slight and therefore not meaningful, but once we accept that we don’t control how things start we can get to something much more important; determining how to influence how they evolve and end by focusing on the process and our response. Personally, I focus on this skill set by imagining the following scene. I am standing in the middle of a chaotic room. everything around me is noise. People are arguing, complaining about me, and ignoring what I have asked them to do. I stand in the middle of a hula hoop that has been laid on the ground. I am observing the room, but my nature is calm because I have knowledge of the fact that I am only able to control what is inside the circle; meaning how I respond to what is happening.

As a result, I become conscious of what I am able to actually control (my own behavior and response) versus what I have the ability to influence other’s behavior and responses). That idea is covered in the next installment. I give different examples and cover this a little more in the video below.

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