I sat at my desk truly feeling the desire to cry. And I’m not a crying person. But a problem I was trying to figure out led to another that led to a whole can of worms being opened. As the list of problems grew so did my anxiety.
I put my head on my desk and willed myself to keep breathing. Don’t get emotional. Stay logical. Pray hard. Gather smart people around you. Get advice. Pray hard again.
As I walked through my problem, I started really studying how other people going through problems were reacting to them. Some were reacting in ways I wanted to emulate. Others made me bug my eyes out and shake my head.
Watching others from the vantage point of my own struggle made me see several categories of problem reactors:
* The sky is falling reactors- These people panic. When a problem arises they feel an urgency that if things aren’t fixed immediately then they are doomed. They talk about the problem in extremes using words like, “never,” “always,” “huge,” and “urgent.” They want to pull others into their panic and seem to thrive off of the adrenaline of the moment.
* Eeyore reactors- These people shut down when problems arise. They want to avoid dealing with the issue at hand. They would rather navigate around a problem than solve it. Eeyore reactors hope someone else will figure it out or that the problem will just go away on its own. They let the anxiety of the problem pull them into a funk. Then they resign things will probably not get better anytime soon. Misery loves company so they invite others into their pity party.
* Thinking reactors- These people see a problem as an opportunity to think rather than an obstacle that will hold them back. They want to bring solutions to the table instead of just talking about the issues. They manage the stress of the problem by researching possible solutions. Thinking reactors thrive on inviting the wisdom of others who have experience in dealing with this type of problem.
I’m sure there are other categories of reactors as well. Maybe I’ll expand this list as I keep thinking about this. Maybe you want to help me think of others you see. Let’s chat about this in the comments below.
But as I look to have some new views in 2013, how I react to problems definitely makes the list.
I want to be a thinking reactor.
I’ve been amazed what a difference it makes to wisely choose our reactions to problems. I do have a choice. And what I choose not only affects me but those around me as well.
The sky is falling reactor magnifies a problem. The Eeyore reactor feels paralyzed by a problem. And the thinking reactor solves a problem.