Are You Living in a Reactive Mode?


Day 6 - Bullseye!

It’s always fascinating to me to observe human behavior.  When driving down the interstate, if someone sees a police car driving along, they automatically slow down, even when they were going less than the speed limit originally.  This overreaction can cause accidents.  The drivers aren’t thinking about what they are doing.  And when they are already going lower than the speed limit, it seems a little silly to slow down even more for a police car that’s driving along with traffic.

So how often do we have that type of silly, reactive behavior that can hold us back and may cause unintended consequences for others?  When you live in a reactive mode, you are not going to get where you are going very quickly.  You could think you are in the fast lane, but if someone ahead of you hits the brakes and slows you down and you haven’t planned for that possibility, you may be stuck.

Have you ever spent a day putting out fires, and then realized at the end of the day that you did not accomplish any of the important things you should have done?  How many of those fires could have been prevented or at least anticipated with a little more planning?

One way to get out of reactive mode is to set goals, make them “SMART” goals, look at them daily, and diligently work toward them.  Thoughtfully consider what may interfere with those goals, and be prepared to tweak your route so you are still able to get where you want to go.  Having goals will help you to determine priorities and to make sure you are spending time on the most important things.  It’s much better to take the approach of “Ready, Aim, Fire” than “Ready, Fire, Aim”.  If you take time to actually aim at the target, you are more likely to hit it!

People often react too quickly.  I’m not suggesting that you delay decisions and slow things down to the point of analysis paralysis.  Taking a few minutes to evaluate the situation and consider the alternatives might prevent you from making a big mistake.  Getting the right balance between being proactive and reactive is what you should strive to achieve.  Why don’t you evaluate your recent performance to see if you are making decisions too quickly or too slowly?  Just like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, there is always an approach that is just right.

Photo by:  cishore™ / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

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