Throughout our day we find things pop up that are different from our routine. Many small. Some large. Our tendency is to respond to something immediately. Without thinking. We all have a first reaction that has some emotion in it wrapped together with an immediate thought about what to do next.
Our first reaction is the first thought or emotion we feel inside to what we first see, hear or read. It is before our first thought on what to do or say next. Our first reaction is before our first response to others.
At times, our first reaction urges us to be helpful. Or possibly to be angry or judgmental. The time between our first reaction and our first thought immediately after seems faster than a blink of an eye.
But did you ever stop and reflect on why your first reaction was the way it was? Have you ever questioned why your reaction wasn’t the opposite or something different? It’s a fascinating excercise that I encourage you to try.
Why? Most times our first reaction helps to set our bias concerning the issue at hand. It’s as if it digs a hole for you to stand in making you less flexible to move on to a different point of view. Our first reaction can lower our ability to be empathetic and less sensitive to everything around the comment or issue or situation we just heard.
Reflecting on our first reaction to what we just heard, is an example of how we can become more self-aware. It’s hard to do at first. Because our ego keep pushing us to believe that we are always right so that our feelings are not hurt. Never realizing just how immovable we quickly become by our first reaction.
Taking the time to try to figure out what caused us to react the way we did can strengthen our effectiveness and make us more flexible to adapt and grow with each new situation we encounter. We aren’t always right nor are our beliefs always the best starting point to work through what we just heard, read or saw.
Why? Because we play a much bigger part in the way our life unfolds than we think. Asking a question of ourselves or others first to better understand why we reacted the way we did (not what they said or did) can begin to sharpen your instincts and give you the leverage to become more effective in everything you do.