Being Reactive

I think I react too quickly. I know I react too quickly.

Weird right? Growing up everyone had stressed the importance of speed and wit. Everyone wants to be first: first to think, first to score, first to win. This mantra was taught to me in the classroom and on the soccer field, conditioned through reinforced experiences. “First is best.”

Over the years, I have suffered from the desire to be first. And I know I am not alone — but this has spilled all over my life. Hell, I cannot even go through a conversation with someone without cutting them off or imposing my own (probably incorrect) bias. My mind operates at 1000 mph and I have no filter to slow it down.

But then came a fundamental change in thought spurred by Jason Fried from Basecamp recently dawned on me.

“Stop thinking about alternatives before reacting.”

IF you can find a way to harness the organic meaning of someone else’s words, then you can truly understand what they are trying to say. To do that, though, you cannot react quickly.

I give you the example of a talk I recently went to (similar to Jason Fried’s story). I did not agree with much of the speaker’s logic. In fact, I absolutely disagreed and could name “3 better alternatives.”

But who am I? This guy had been thinking about these ideas for months, maybe years. I was a lame college student. Even if I did disagree, how could I have possibly truly comprehended the message he was trying to convey so quickly.


So my goal now is to stop imbuing my own perspective so quickly. I can learn way more from people if I actually listened more closely to what they were saying.

While slowing down my mind does not sound like the best idea, I think that harnessing its “power” (whatever that may be) will better help me communicate ideas and tell stories.

Well, whatever.