Chemicals React. People Respond.

I find it interesting that my synthesis work from the Quest‘s second week 2 synthesis and the first week three prompt are so completely aligned.

Here is what my Venn diagram looks like for week two:


Here’s today’s Prompt is from Johnathan Fields:

When it comes to the way you live each day, do you spend more time acting or reacting? If the latter, what one commitment can you make to be more intentional in the year to come?

I remember someone over 20 years ago correcting me when I used “mad” instead of “angry”in a sentence. “Only dogs are mad. People get angry.” It was an old-fashioned response to change in spoken language, but it stuck with me. I very seldom refer to my angry self as “mad” to this day.

In that same pedantic, weary voice, I want to tell myself “Chemicals react. People respond.”

Looking at the etymology for those two words is telling.

  • The root of react is literally “do again” the prefix “re” before the verb “act.”
  • Roots of respond also begins with the prefix “re” plus the Latin word spondere – which began as “to pledge”. Latin even used the word respondere meaning “to answer” in the same way the French verb respondre does.

To act again sounds like the well-worn definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Whereas pledging something again, or answering, sounds more like what I actually want to be doing in my daily life.

In the #PowerforGood prompt, I wrote a few words on the idea of responding with intention and not reacting. I wasn’t joking when I say that this is very regularly feedback for development and growth that I get from my boss at work.

This is clearly going to be a theme in the coming months. I think the second part of today’s prompt is the one I really need to spend time with.

What one commitment can you make to be more intentional in the year to come?

The stuff that I find getting in my way of responding (and not reacting) at work is time, patience, urgency and stress. I don’t often feel like I have the introvert-noodle-time that I require to really think through a situation (or to ask more questions).


For some reason, this response demanded a comic. All of my thoughts were visual.




What I can do – and commit to doing – is provide myself with a back pocket full of immediate responses that give me time to think, give other people room to share their opinions, and allow me to really respond with care and thought.

The responses I’m going to try out:

  • What do you think?
  • Do you have any ideas?
  • I need to think about it. When should I get back to you about this?
  • That sounds great! I’m just not sure about one thing – can I get back to you?

What do you think?


4 thoughts on “Chemicals React. People Respond.

  1. Pingback: Reassessing Habits to Keep, Drop or Add | A.K. Anderson

  2. Pingback: New Year’s Rituals | Alicia K. Anderson

  3. Pingback: All That’s Asked Is Empathy | Alicia K. Anderson

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