Apr 28, 2010

React or Respond ?

(From a forward mail i got yesterday from my friend - Santosh)

Three women met in a restaurant. Yeah u can guess???  Lots of discussions, exchange of news and views, loads of information.  One particular of their discussion caught my attention.  One of the ladies, with lot of interest was sharing some facts about cockroach. With a lot of amazement,  she was telling how a cockroach can run 3 miles in an hour and could live a long time, perhaps a week without its head. It can survive in any climate, in any house condition, inside any crack, etc.
Suddenly, a cockroach flew from nowhere and sat on her.  She started to scream out of fear.  With panic-stricken face and trembling voice,  she started doing stationary jumping with her hands trying to get rid of the cockroach.  The lady finally managed to push the cockroach to another lady in the group.  Now, it was the another lady to continue the drama. The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.  In the relay, the cockroach fell on the waiter.  The waiter stood firm observing its movement on his shirt.  When he has confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out.
As I was seeing those,  few thoughts started wondering, “Was the cockroach responsible for the histrionic behaviour?  If so, then why the waiter was not perturbed? He handled it to near perfection, without any chaos. It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach to them.”
I realized, “Even in my case then, it is not the shouting of my father that disturbs me, but it is my inability to handle the disturbance caused by his shouting that disturbs me. In all, it is not something that disturbs me, but it is my inability caused by that something that disturbs me. More than the problem, it is my reaction to the problem, which hurts me more.”
A natural question popped up in my mind, “Then, how do I outgrow this limitation?” I understood, “I should not react. I should always respond”. The women reacted, whereas waiter responded. Reactions are instinctive, whereas responses are intellectual. Between the stimuli (what happens to me) and the response (what happens through me) if there is no gap, it creates reaction. But, between the stimuli and response,  if I use the gap to think and contemplate, then I can respond thoughtfully.  
“An Intelligent person responds; a fool reacts”.

Written by:  Deepak Shinde.


  1. my thoughts...

  2. I read this article in Frozen Thoughts magazine.

    While it is good to see you spread this thought, it would be better if you could give credit to the original source :)

  3. @mM, Karthick,
    You were right. It's not mine. i pasted it from a forward mail and i forget to think about the story having a first person !
    So, "I" in the story is not ME.


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