You know a wise man once said nothin’ at all – Drake
Most of what I write about usually comes to me in one of two ways.
Sometimes I randomly start thinking about a topic. I then start to notice a bunch of related things that enforce or help shape my thinking on it. And then I write it up (which also helps further shape my thinking on it).
However sometimes it works the other way. I notice a bunch of related things over time and I start to think about it more. I gradually realise the importance of it and develop a view on it. And then I write it up.
This post is no different.
About a month ago, Jason Fried posted a couple of tweets:
We’ve considered an option in Basecamp to *prevent* replies to something before a specified set of time. “24 hours must pass before anyone can comment”, etc. Basically a “sleep on it” feature. Haven’t implemented it yet, but it’s been rattling around in the mind for a while.— Jason Fried (@jasonfried) June 1, 2018
I LOVE the “24 hours must pass before anyone can comment” concept. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve rushed a reply to an email or social media post because I wanted to get my opinion in early. I’ve almost always come to regret not taking longer to think it through and post a more informed response.
Out of all the emails that have ever been sent, and later regretted, I’d wager the majority were sent too fast, not too slow. A long pause is your friend, not your enemy.— Jason Fried (@jasonfried) June 2, 2018
This doesn’t even need me to elaborate. I’d bet it’s true for us all.
Last month, Pusha T and Drake had a bit of back and forth, which ended in Pusha T putting out a scathing diss track, The Story Of Adidon. He crossed a line even for rappers (unearthing Drake was hiding a child, insulting his parents, poking fun at his producers Multiple Sclerosis etc.) So, everyone grabbed their popcorn and waited eagerly for Drake to respond even harder.
But, nothing…. Complete silence.
And then a rumour surfaced that Drake had made a career ending diss track, but was apparently talked out of releasing it. At the time, I couldn’t see why Drake didn’t hit back harder. It’s not like he doesn’t know how.
Last week Drake released Scorpion, his fifth studio album. I’ve had it on repeat since it got released, I love it. He addresses a lot of the Pusha T situation, aswell as a bunch of other stuff in a super classy, ‘I’m the bigger man’ way.
In its first day of release, Scorpion broke Spotify’s one-day global record for album streams with 132.45 million streams (50 million plays greater than the previous record). It also broke Apple Music’s single-day record with 170 million streams (breaking his own previous record).
So, rather than rush into a nasty feud, Drake paused. His response was to put out better, and more popular music — where he addressed rumours and insults in a perfect, classy way.
The common theme, is that it’s better to respond, than to react.
You react when you act quickly. It’s often done without thinking, or at best, with part thinking. And it’s usually fuelled by whatever emotion is being triggered at that moment. When you react, it’s really easy to fuel a fire and make a situation worse.
But, you respond when you pause and take a step back. You let the initial emotion drift away and start to consciously think about what’s going on. You try and think about things from other people’s perspective. You work out the best way to respond or solve the problem. And then, you respond.
Responding doesn’t have to take days, or even hours. Sometimes it can be pausing for just a few seconds, and then rationally deciding your response. But, it can sometimes mean choosing not to respond for days or weeks whilst you find out more, and consider the best response. It really depends on the situation and urgency of the response.
I’m fairly good at choosing to respond instead of reacting when I’m at work. In fact, most of my recent roles, I’ve had to convince other people that they need to stop reacting, and instead respond with a longer term view to the solution. Of course, I still slip into reacting from time to time. But, most of the time when something goes wrong, I’ve learned to stay calm and properly figure out the root cause and how to best respond to it.
But, I’m terrible at it in my personal life. I’m too quick to react to things, and often end up regretting decisions or how I treat someone. It’s not as if I’m mean, but I think I could be a lot more understanding and compassionate if I forced a pause. I’m going to work on that. Work on being more patient.
It all comes down to patience, discipline and control. Hard things to master, but life changing when you get even somewhat good at them.
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