Learn to Control Your Reactions
Take the High Road
Discover how to set yourself up for success with two simple tips that can help you remain true to yourself — even when bad things happen.
It’s said that if you come to a fork in the road while hiking a mountain, and you’re unsure which way to go, take the high road.
This adage also works in our everyday experiences. Whether it’s with friends and family, at work, or with complete strangers — we need to develop the ability to always take the high road.
We All Have Things We Wish We Could Take Back
We are all unique individuals with complex emotions, different gifts, and diverse talents. But we all have one thing in common: things sometimes trigger reactions that aren’t in our own best interest. These are things, when we reflect, that we wish we could take back, but we can’t. We have met the enemy, and he is us!
Have you ever been terminated from a job, perhaps even without a process that seemed fair? Have you ever been cut from an athletic team when you were sure you deserved a spot? Have you ever asked someone out only to be rejected? (Yikes!) The list goes on and on. That’s life.
Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to good people. Bad things happen to bad people. And, good things happen to bad people. But your reaction to the things that happen is what you can control.
Are You a Reactor or Are You Proactive?
When something happens to trigger a response, are you more likely not to take the high road? Perhaps you lose your temper or blame someone else.
The problem with this is these kinds of reactions are not in our best interest, and we end up shooting ourselves in the foot.
So how do we learn to take the high road? Here are two ideas that I have found to be very helpful.
2 Ways to Take the High Road
1. Be Principle Driven
Don’t be driven by the winds of popular ideas or the beliefs of others. Don’t feast off of social media. Decide what kind of person you want to be. Write it down. Make a list of your principles and carry it around in your purse or pocket. After a while, you will have them memorized.
For instance, one of my life principles is, “Be a lifetime learner.” I trained myself to respond to any suggestion that comes my way with curiosity rather than defensiveness. I have become amazed at how I can learn things from the most unlikely of people.
Another principle for me is, “Be humble.” It sticks in my mind and heart. I read about what this means.
2. Invoke the Three Day Rule
I wrote about this previously in one of these epistles. Never make an important decision that comes your way without waiting three days. My quick, instinctive reaction is almost always not fully informed by other people’s viewpoints, the hard facts, data, and prayer.
Three days later, I always feel significantly more settled in my opinion and planned response. I tell people who try to rush me that I have a life principle of waiting three days. This rule seems to give me the needed time and release the pressure to act quickly.
The High Road of Grace will get you somewhere a whole lot faster than the freeway of spite.