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How to Stop Reacting and Start Creating at Work

Constant reacting creates problems on the job. Creating needs to be present instead.

Reacting lowers productivity and satisfaction. It is a resistance to a problem or situation. When reacting, people operate based on their ego and identity. Emotions run high. People defend. They justify. They complain. But they don’t collaborate and they don’t have trust. This leads to friction and conflict within the organization and can ruin growth and success.

Reacting can also cause chronic stress at work for individuals. Those who react are below the power and freedom line. They are stuck in ineffective states of hopelessness, fear, and frustration like you see in the picture below. This can cause high levels of stress, which lowers effectiveness, happiness, and well-being at work and in life.

According to studies, 94% of workers report feeling stress at work. 63% are ready to quit their job to avoid work-related stress. Because of this, employee satisfaction suffers.

Being in these states below the line is the area most stressed people occupy. Most, if not all, of those people react. Those who create have lower levels of stress and occupy areas above the power and freedom line. They operate from a place of courage and possibility, which allows them to remain above the line at high levels of effectiveness.

Emotional intelligence is also higher in these states. Those who react are often controlled by their emotions. However, they remain unaware of this when it happens. That is one of the biggest reasons this behavior persists. If people don’t realize they are doing something, they are unlikely to change it. This can be exacerbated by the fact that many of these issues stem from our subconscious programming.

Reacting Unconsciously

Subconscious programming forms the basis for reacting. People spend 95% of their time operating from their subconscious. This unconscious behavior is born from our early years of childhood, where we soak up information based on our environment. Like gathering data on a hard drive, our minds are a blank slate until we begin to fill it with information. Things like our experiences, the behavior of our parents, and the world around us all get packed together to form our subconscious programming (Bruce Lipton, 2017). The neural pathways that are formed by this continue to be used as we age, becoming our easiest and most natural ways of thinking. This means that when we react, we are behaving in the same ways we did as a child.

You might ask how this programming causes harm at work. Think about what your workplace would be like if everyone there behaved like a child. While that might be a bit dramatic, it is a comparable result to everyone constantly reacting in your workplace. Think about two people arguing about a problem at work. Now consider two children fighting over toys in a sandbox. Is the behavior all that different? The adults become emotional and defensive. They may complain about extra work. They may say the problem is not their responsibility and refuse to help. Maybe they defend or try to justify their actions that caused the problem. But there is rarely focus on collaborating to fix a situation. Rarely does someone take control with a level head and inspire others to move forward. Creativity is the opposite of this.


One of the differences between creating and reacting is that creating involves a conscious response. If someone is creating, they are present and in control. Instead of resisting a problem they ask themselves “What can I do in this situation.” Problems are seen as opportunities for improvement and innovation. People collaborate with each other and create a high trust environment. Things that once seemed hard or even impossible are now within reach. Individuals break out of their subconscious and develop new neural pathways that enable them to respond rather than react to new situations.

Most people spend the majority of their time reacting. Maybe you do too. If you want to change this and discover how to create at your highest level, then check out our Free Response Agility Workshop. It includes guidance on mastering emotional intelligence and retraining your brain to break out of your subconscious behaviors to cultivate well-being at work.

While reacting can cause major issues at work, it is fixable. A state of creation is achievable. Focus on developing awareness of your subconscious programming and breaking out of it. Operate from a state of courage and maintain your power and freedom. Do this and you will find that you and are more productive and successful than ever before and the level of employee satisfaction at your organization skyrockets. Things happen to people who react. Things happen for people who create.


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