brooklyn bridge

Deciding to Respond… INSTEAD of React…

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” —Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Doctors tell us that Responding is positive and Reacting is negative.

How do they tell us that?

I was sick awhile ago and I went in for a check up. My doctor sent me over to Walgreens to pick up my medication, but before I left the office she said, “Take the meds, see how you feel, and come back and see me in a couple days.”

I went back to the doctor and she said, “Oh no, your body is having a bad Reaction to the medicine.”

Needless to say, she prescribed something else.  Before I left the office she said, ““Take the meds, see how you feel, and come back and see me in a couple days.  If the reaction is bad again, don’t wait to come in, CALL ME ASAP!”

I went back in and she said, “Oh good, your body is Responding to the treatment.”

Responding is positive, Reacting is negative.

You are going to encounter disappointment along the way in life.

It does not matter how perfectly you run your life, how committed you stay to your goals, or what level of success you reach, you will at some time or another experience disappointment.

What you do need to do when this happens is deal with it well and Respond. How many people do you know who deal with disappointment well?

How do you personally deal with disappointment?

Do you get angry?

Sad?

Do you blow it off as though nothing happened (which can potentially be as dangerous as the other options)?

The way in which you cope with disappointments is one of the defining factors in how you will do in life, and how well and how quickly you will achieve your goals.

Don’t wallow for too long.(a little wallowing is okay)

Don’t be angry forever. (a little righteous anger is okay)

But you can’t stay there long.

Be proactive.

Get back up and seek out new opportunities. Find a positive outlook on the turn of events.

Say this to yourself, “What if everything that has happened… has happened FOR me instead of TO me?”

Likewise, do not act as if nothing has happened.

Not properly assimilating a disappointment can leave it to fester, and affect you later on down the road.

Always take a moment to address what has happened.

Then allow yourself to proactively move forward.

Denial is one of the most effective ways to inflict harm on yourself and your progress.

Repression hurts and festers and leads to a system-wide infection.

Don’t brush aside your experience so effectively that you have never even processed it.

Remember, there are lessons there to learn, lessons that you can use down the road as you progress toward your goals.

There’s a very moving story around the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

It’s a true testament of how a dedicated, committed human spirit and mind can be.

The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City is an engineering feat, but it is also a feat of human potential.

A very ingenious engineer named John Roebling conceived the idea of the bridge.

A lot of other experts in his field tossed off his idea. They told him there was no way he would be able to build such an ambitious project with the technologies of the day.

Roebling was not about to be dissuaded from his dream.

He enlisted the help of his similarly innovative son, Washington, and set out to design, plan, build, and complete that engineering masterpiece.

They got the financing in place, got their permits and city paperwork taken care of, and hired a crew to begin construction.

Only a few months into the project, a truly disastrous event took place.

An on-site accident killed Roebling and left his son a quadriplegic with brain damage severe enough to prevent him from communicating with words.

Immediately, plans were made to scrap the project; how could that ambitious project continue without the only two people who really understood how to execute it?

The thing is, Washington was not down for the count—not by a long shot.”

Even though he lost his ability to move and communicate through the spoken word, Washington’s faculties were all still in place.

More importantly, his dream of building the bridge and his devotion to that dream had not faded.

So what did he do?

He engineered a new way to communicate.

In cooperation with his very patient and caring wife, Washington developed a system for communicating through finger taps.

An idea hit him as he lay in his hospital bed, and he developed a code for communication.

He literally tapped out instructions for the construction of the bridge and oversaw the entire project from his bed for thirteen more years.

So you can see how the bridge is not only a miracle of engineering, but also a miracle of human ambition and commitment, too.

No matter how carefully we lead our lives, we are going to experience disappointment.

It is inevitable that we will see failure, grief, pain, and every type of disappointment come into our lives.

Since you are sure to see disappointments, make sure you keep an extra sharp eye out for joy.

Spend time with people you love and value: family, friends, mentors, anyone who brings you solace, love, and joy. These moments of balance and bliss will make you that much more prepared when disappointments arrive.