The importance of your emitted first reaction

I’ve been preaching about this for an awful long time now as I realised that there are a lot of people out there who have a negative emitted first reaction. They are everywhere actually. Within our own network groups, friendship groups, influencer groups, leadership groups, the media. Everywhere. So much so that it’s very easy to let yourself join in. You can never underplay the importance and impact of your emitted first reaction, to anything. Imagine if that reaction was one of positivity or serenity and what that does for the people around you. It is possible, I assure you.

But what do I mean by an emitted reaction?

Your emitted first reaction is the reaction that those around you get access to, that they see, hear, or read from you, i.e. what you emit to them. I’ve called it that, there may be a better description, but it will work for now.

To be clear, it’s not the internal reaction that you may have to something (I suppose that could be the gut or impulse reaction). There is a difference and we can all control the emitted first reaction if we choose to and you should be aware that it will have an impact of some kind on the people in your vicinity. That can be in person or online/over email etc. Wherever you are interacting.

I’ll give you the very recent example that prompted me to finally write about this.

I’m a member of a local voluntary group. We support the local community through social and charitable activity. We do this in our spare time. There’s not a great deal of that, for any of us. One of my roles is to liaise with the local press on our activity so we get coverage in the local paper. We had one such article published yesterday, to my delight. When I shared it on our WhatsApp group, the first 3 reactions from others were, “What, no picture?”, “Why is the focus of the article wrong”, “Great, we are next to a picture of a gravestone”. My reaction was, “Can we dispense with the negativity? We’re in, it’s coverage, we move on”.

There’s a couple of learnings here from both sides.

What’s your first reaction?

The first reaction from 3 separate members of the group was a negative response. Its impact on me made me question why I even bother if the work I do is questioned by people who have no influence or experience in this space.

But I’d also like to point out that I’m not perfect in this scenario. My emitted first reaction to theirs was to fight fire with fire and that’s not really solving the issue and not my style normally. In fact, it potentially creates bigger issues. My biggest frustration was that I was fully aware of this and yet I still chose to take the argumentative approach. Thankfully, bigger issues did not occur. They’re a good set of guys after all.

There’s learning for all of us here.

Take ownership

My theory is that we are all in control of our emitted first reactions. What ever happens in your surroundings there’s a physiological reaction which will then start to determine your likely emitted reaction. If someone is negative or aggressive towards you, it’ll most likely create an adrenaline-based response, normally not conducive to calming or improving the situation.

But it’s at this point you need to take ownership of it. Fighting negativity with negativity or aggression with aggression creates a bigger problem and blaming others for your reaction is the basis for larger and deeper problems occurring, both externally and within yourself.

The good news

You can train yourself to snap out of a cycle of negative first reactions. It’ll take a bit of discipline, but the most important thing is being aware of the fact that you are reacting this way in the first place. That’s a big enlightenment step.

The other good news is that we’re all human, which means that none of us are perfect and there is no chance you can control this 100% of the time so don’t beat yourself up when it happens, as long as it’s not dominating your position. There will always be moments in your life where the pressures around you are too great to control your emotions. Accepting that is also part of taking on this approach and being comfortable with it.

If you are interested in learning more then reach out to me directly and I’ll give you the technique that has worked for me so far, 90% of the time at least.

Thank you for reading.