Imagine going to see a Doctor because you were sick. After careful examination, you were given a prescription and an instruction to return in a few days. If, when you walk back in to see the Doctor, he starts shaking his head and says “It looks like your body is reacting to the medication; we’re going to have to change it”, you probably will get a little nervous. However, if the Doctor smiles and says “You’re looking great! Your body is responding to the medication,” you will feel relieved. Yes, responding to life is good. Reacting to the incidents of life is negative- and that is bad.
When I was studying Biology in College some years back, we were thought how plant and animals “respond” to stimulus. It is called “tropism”. If for example, you put a flower in a room that is poorly lit and it does not have direct access to sun rays, it responds to that condition. It looks for where you have the sun rays coming from and bends its stem in that direction. Bottom line, it has two choices, react or respond. It could react and complain about the situation. “Why in heaven’s name don’t I have access to sun rays here!” It can remain where it is. If it does, death is imminent. It will only be a matter of time. On the other hand, it responds and says “Fine, the sun rays are not getting to me, so I have to get to it”. Living things survive this way. You can’t be any different. You will have to positively respond to life and issues of life if you do not want to “die” prematurely.
I came across a report that explains my point in clear terms. Today, there is so much turmoil in the job market and many people are losing their jobs through downsizing, mergers and takeovers. This creates some unusual opportunities for many people. According to the Wall Street Journal, there is a positive from this trend. In the last five years, more than fifteen million businesses have been created in the United States. Interestingly enough, more than half of these businesses have been created by women! Very few of them had any marketable skills, and several of them had great financial need.
Many of these new businesses – possibly most of them – would never have started had not an “unfortunate” event occurred in people’s lives. When those events did occur and needs became obvious, the women chose to respond, and there is little doubt that many of them are better off now than they were before the “tragedy” took place.
Take Glenn Cunningham as another example. When he was young, their house was gutted by fire and he was severely wounded. Doctors said he was so badly burnt that he will never walk again. Everyone believed that report except Glenn. He knew he had a choice either to respond to what life was pushing at him or to react. He did respond. He started attempting to move his feet when his parent were away. He made up his mind he wasn’t only going to walk but also run! And he did. In 1938, when he ran his fastest mile (and won an Olympic medal) in 4.04.4 mins, he owned 12 of the 31 fastest mile times on record! How will you respond today to challenges that come your way.
The message here is clear: If you respond to life instead of react to it, then you’ve got a much better chance of achieving success.