“A life of reaction is a life of slavery, intellectually and spiritually. One must fight for a life of action, not reaction.” ~ Rita Mae Brown …
Far too many individuals fall victim to believing that they are living free lives, but in reality, are allowing themselves to be slaves to the world around them by not living a life of action. A life of reaction implies that our actions are determined by the prior action directed towards us–by an outside force. And if we live our lives in such a way–failing to ever initiate action–then we are servants to reacting to whatever life brings our way, and much of who we are becoming–intellectually, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, is being determined by others and the world.
So what many of us need is a wake-up call, some helpful encouragement and advice, and perhaps a good role model to provide us with direction and inspire us to act. Wake-up calls, encouragement, and advice are generally there, but we have to be receptive. And there are often relatively few individuals in our lives who are consistent actors as opposed to reactors, however, it is vital that we seek them out and surround ourselves with them. Such individuals can teach us the importance of learning to overcome our propensity for letting others determine our actions in life; they can instruct us in how to determine our own attitudes, feelings, moods, and not let others derail our happiness with their negativity, or divert our focus with their actions and words.
It is the duty of each of us to take the initiative to inspire action, both of ourselves and of those around us. If someone insults us, it is up to us to maintain our dignity and character and not give substance to their empty words by allowing them to bring us down. And if adversity and hardship come knocking on our door, it is our responsibility to keep our head up and react to in a positive manner. When I really get to thinking about what it means to react instead of act, it is clear that there is something fundamentally wrong with such an approach–in reacting, we give the upper hand to others–the power to push us in directions that we may not want to go, or should not go.
Each moment we are here is a chance to live our lives authentically. But we must be proactive, not reactive; for while the first empowers us to be the captains of our lives–charting our courses, determining our directions, and sailing our vessels wherever we desire to be–the latter leaves us at the mercy of the oceans of life, to be buffeted by the winds of chance and tossed about on the stormy seas.
Act in ways that will be a positive influence in your life.
Questions to consider:
How do we fall into the pattern of reacting instead of acting?
How can a life of reacting be a life of slavery?
What kinds of actions can you take today that will be positive influences on the life you lead?
For further thought:
“You don’t reward reaction; you reward results.” ~ Edwin Louis Cole, Maximized Manhood