Life is 10% of what happens to me, 90% of how I react to it

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.

Charles R Swindol

I saw this quote on a website and took a liking to it. I think it’s a good quote, but the important sentence is almost at the end.

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it

That’s the best bit, but even that needs a tweak in my opinion.

Here’s my version:

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I respond to it

What! It’s just one word. What’s the difference?

In my opinion it’s a world of difference: a reaction is something that you do automatically, a response is something you have a choice in.

If I put my hand on a hot stove I will unconsciously pull my hand away, I don’t think about it, I don’t have to think about it.

If my partner, neighbour or colleague complains to me about something I can react without thinking. These reactions may not help the situation.

Or, I can respond to what they are saying, choosing how to be in the world. This may or may not help the situation but at least I won’t be a repeat of my last reaction (or the one before that).

If you want to change a knee jerk reaction (notice it’s not called a knee jerk response) then, at the very least, you need to notice that it’s happening and take responsibility for it. How you change the response depends on the situation you are dealing with and the tools you have at your disposal.

The part that everyone can do, and needs to do, it to own the reaction and look for a more useful response.

For more on this you might like to read Stop Trying To Change The World

Image courtesy of TheFutureIsUnwritten

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