The Art Of Responding

Most of the world is still struggling with the pandemic. We, in the United States, are doing better, thanks in part to the change in mindset, and in part to the availability of vaccines, but we are still far from being done with the pandemic.

Big parts of the country are still unvaccinated, and I won’t go into a discourse about why, or whether this is right or wrong, but the fact remains that unless we are all vaccinated, the virus will continue to spread, mutate, and spread again. We are going to probably see the need for semi-lockdowns in the near future, I think.

A big part of the initial reaction to this pandemic was that it was a “reaction”. Reaction is something that happens fast, instantly, and without much thought. It’s impulse, it’s primal thoughts, and it’s instinctive. This can help you survive in matters of life and death, but also can have unexpected results and side effects.

At the time, this quick and decisive reaction was needed. More than a year into this, well, I think it’s time we change “reaction” for “response”.

Response is a thought out and measured action. It’s a slower process that allows you to see what may happen on every turn, analyzing the steps needed for a successful outcome. This enables small adjustments (or big ones), and correction can happen before action is set in motion.

The art of responding is balanced. As we slow down a bit and think things through, we can consult with our own past experiences, or with other people, and gain a sense of whether the solution is a good one.

What do we need, then, to turn this reaction into a response?

We need to stop, assess the situation, and make a decision. We need more information, and the ability to work together to get a good solution. We all need to put aside our BS, look each other in the eye, and figure things out.

We need to learn the subtle art of responding. Not easy, but unless we all get together to respond to this problem we all have, it might never go away.