Don't react, reflect and respond.

We are naturally wired to react. The wise man stops and reflects. Instead of reacting, he responds AFTER reflection.

We react because it we have an impulse to. It's habitual. At a young age, evidence that we are wired to react reveals itself in children. Dogs are also wired to react. But as adults, we can catch ourself.

Others trigger reactions. When someone 'pushes your buttons,' they are tapping into your habitual ways. But when we learn to live more mindfully, we catch ourselves reacting and STOP. Then ask yourself the 4. Service Above Self questions: 1. Is it the TRUTH? 2. Is it FAIR to all concerned? 3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? 4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Amazon has a similar 'triple bottom line' I subscribe to for my business:

  1. Is it good for the client?
  2. Is it good for me?
  3. Is it good for the end user?

If a request doesn't meet all 3, then it needs to be re-evaluated.

When we pause to reflect, we get an opportunity to dive deeper into the question of truth.

This is why it's helpful to take time before making a commitment.


It's helpful to look at what triggers us to react vs. respond. The first clue is that we feel the tinge of an emotion arise. Am I upset? Am I composed?

Next, ask if the reaction is warranted. Is my ego being challenged? Your ego will always seek to defend itself, that's what the ego does.

Next, ask if I'm attached to an outcome. One of the keys to living effortlessly is to let go of the outcome and focus on the work. The reward isn't the result, it's who we become in our journey to the result.

For me, I tend to fall back into a reactive pattern when I am out of balance. When the demands and expectation exceed my abilities. Not to be confused with conflict, which is healthy tension... I realize that effort plays a key role in my ever-expanding saga.

Reflection Questions

At the end of the day (or last our of my workweek), I ask myself: