React or Respond

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This isn’t so much one of our regular posts on the Navigo NLP Center Blog but more of a sharing.

Reacting reverts to instinct, bypassing any potentially logical or alternative choices and instantly making a decision based on the most important values. However, responding means to take the time to consider, investigate and prioritize or structure the most appropriate course of action.

Recently, a wiser friend of mine shared a wonderful article from Brushan Reddy about cockroaches that beautifully encapsulates this. That would have normally seemed a little awkward for any ordinary woman to share. But she’s not ordinary. She’s also a Licensed Master Practitioner of NLP™, like me.

In the article, it told a story about how a stray cockroach flew into a restaurant and caused everyone inside to react in full blown panic, except for the waiter who responded in complete calmness. It shows the gist of what being taught in the authentic NLP™ skills and techniques can do for those who practice it.

The following is the full article she shared on her Facebook status.

Have you heard of the Cockroach Theory for Self-Development?
by Brushan Reddy

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach. Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky. The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group.

Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama. The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.

In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter. The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior?

If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?

He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos. It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.

I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me. It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life.

Lessons learnt from the story:
Do not react in life. Always respond. The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded. Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, just and right to save a situation from going out of hands, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger, anxiety, stress or hurry.

What happens to you...when something happens to you?

What happens to you…when something happens to you?


Adding to this, we all have that choice to make. Even accepting this lesson is a choice. You may react by thinking that this isn’t something that can be applied to every situation but the truth of the matter is that because in reacting by thinking that way, you chose not to see how it could. Thing are always going to happen and sometimes we may react when instead we should respond. But staying that way is entirely your choice. What that means for you is that all of us can break ourselves out of our negative patterns of always reacting.

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About the Author:

From the island of Borneo, born with an international mix of racial heritage, Ronald similarly carries with him a plethora of unique experiences drawn from a variety of fields and industries; infusing the best of his unique skill sets, informative observations, eccentric sense of humour with his passion for learning, education and performance. He is also a Licensed Master Practitioner of NLP™, a Wadoryu Karate Instructor and a Personal Trainer.