The Bobby Rock Newsletter #27 (9-29-2021) - The Zen of Delayed Reaction
The Bobby Rock Newsletter #27 (9-29-2021) - The Zen of Delayed Reaction
My Friends -
Great to be back, this time with some food for thought on the wisdom of delayed response in trying situations. I know this can be a tough one…. especially given how much our society seems to revere those who can react quickly, decisively, and with “great force.” Sounds good on paper, but it’s rarely a wise move in real life. Let’s consider the mindful alternative today. But first…
A recent shot of my long-time tech, Cubby, and I with the Alpha Kit;
The only silver lining of fewer tour dates is more time playing this beast!
In this issue:
The Unseen: Yes, there is almost ALWAYS more to a situation than what the eyes can see. So why not delay that initial reaction and give yourself a chance to see it?
The 24-Hour Rule: You will love this one… and so will those around you once you master it!
Down & Dirty: Dragon Dirt ingredients spotlight on one of the most tested and legit performance-enhancing superfoods on the planet. (Also great for heart health!)
A big part of mindful living is how we deal with conflict, agitation, and unpleasantness with others… especially at the front end of a difficult exchange. We must try to remember that there are often other “unseen” factors going on beyond any knee-jerk conclusions we may arrive at. I know it’s tempting to jump to a verdict about an annoying or upsetting situation. This is raw emotion, and it’s human nature to run with our first impression about something.
BUT - it is seldom a good idea.
Consider the classic anecdote from author Steven Covey about “the man on the train.” Covey describes a peaceful scene one Sunday morning on a NYC subway where everyone was minding their own business, reading their newspapers, and basically coexisting harmoniously. But then a man got on the train with his children. He promptly sat down, leaned his head back and closed his eyes, seemingly exhausted, while his kids proceeded to raise holy hell, chasing each other around, grabbing at people’s papers, throwing things at each other, etc. Chaos ensued, the calm ambiance soured, and everyone on the train was suddenly incensed… except for the dad! He continued to sit with his eyes closed, oblivious to the actions of his children.
Covey was getting more pissed by the minute and, eventually, he had enough. So he turned to the dad and went off: “Excuse me, sir, but your children are disturbing all of the other passengers here! Don’t you think you ought to control them a bit more?”
The man opened his eyes and, for the first time, seemed to grasp the reality at hand. He turned to Covey and quietly said: “Oh, you’re right. I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”
And suddenly, a different dimension to the scene emerged, as did a stark reminder: it’s always better to proceed with the “unseen” in mind. Yes, given the imposition on the other passengers, something probably needed to be mentioned to the dad. But imagine how Covey might have approached the man had he had an inkling of the bigger truth this family was dealing with. This is the kind of preemptive caution I believe we should try to bring to every such situation. This is real mindfulness. This is the consideration of the “unseen."
I know this all might sound like an extreme example of jumping to a conclusion. But I’m sure we’ve all had this kind of experience before. We just knew there was inconsideration, incompetence, ill will, or something else untoward behind someone’s actions… only to discover the “unseen” aspect of the situation that we either couldn’t know or never bothered to consider. Likewise, I’m sure others have drawn similar inaccurate conclusions about us. This can be upsetting, as well.
However, when we evaluate a situation with a sense of observation rather than judgment, we automatically take on the perspective of The Observer: We become a curious, mindful witness to the situation, open to understanding the deeper meaning that could be going on. This requires patience… and practice.
You can’t talk about the art of mindfulness without mentioning this guy—
one of my main mentors—the beloved Vietnamese monk,
Thich Nhat Hahn, who I respectfully refer to as Mr. MIndfulness.
I remember one of my solo tours back in the 90s, where I found myself engaging in this kind of delayed reaction, “observation without judgment” thing regularly. On this tour, which was lengthy and arduous, there seemed to be extra helpings of drama with various crew members, sponsoring entities, overall interpersonal dynamics, and other volatile logistics. When yet another drama erupted, everyone would turn to me for a quick response. But I would seldom have one for them in the initial moment. I wanted to consider the bigger picture, think about any “unseen” elements that might be at play, and let a bit of time pass. I also wanted to see if a deeper truth about the situation might reveal itself after I had a conversation with the “offender” in question, or someone else who might have a more complete perspective of the dilemma.
This didn’t square with the emotional tenor of my band and crew guys. So they would jokingly refer to my waiting-to-respond protocol as “the Bobby Rock Shuffle:” a back-and-forth form of indecisiveness (as they saw it) where I would seldom arrive at any definitive conclusion quickly. I didn’t mind their characterization… and they certainly didn’t mind busting balls about it in front of me!
And sure, there were occasions where the harsh first impression would’ve turned out to be the accurate one. But even then, my eventual response could be more measured, rational, or strategic, and less emotional or unnecessarily dramatic. (As opposed to the few times I did not heed this advice and felt like a horse’s ass after mindlessly going off on someone!)
Truth is, situations like this seldom require an immediate response. We can usually buy ourselves at least a few hours, if not a full 24 before we have to respond.
Which leads us to…
The 24-Hour Rule
Here’s another healthy protocol that has saved my ass through the years. Not sure where I first heard this, but I call it the 24-Hour Rule, and it mainly applies to email and texting. When you have to respond to an email or text that is clearly upsetting, and you feel that surge of adrenaline hit as you begin your written response… go ahead and finish the note if you feel compelled. It’s a worthwhile “exorcism.” But, DO NOT SEND IT… yet. Try to wait 24 hours, or at least until you’ve had a chance to sleep on it. I can guarantee that, at the very least, you will want to soften the tone or maybe even edit or omit a few points, if you don’t decide to forego sending it all together. It is remarkable how radically our perspectives change on something with even a little bit of reflection and decompression time.
+ + + + + + + + +
By the way, the reason I feel it is so essential to delay response when we’re super emotional, is this: when we’re feeling noteworthy amounts of anger or fear, we tend to think and reason from a totally different part of our brain—the “lizard brain,” which has a much more streamlined, narrowly-focused, fight or flight functionality. This is great for when you’re walking across a dark parking lot and are approached by a couple of thugs. It's the part of your brain you want to spring into action (and hopefully have you take flight…. always the best choice when possible!).
But in everyday situations? No. We don’t do our most expansive, intelligent, or brilliant thinking from the ol’ lizard brain realm, so it’s best to let the ol’ lizard recoil back into standby mode. Once we’ve regained our composure, we can hopefully ease back into our "genius" frontal lobe area, where we can come up with a more mindful response.
Again, not always so easy to do!
Down & Dirty!
Earlier in 2021, I launched my very own custom-blend superfood powder called Dragon Dirt. In this section, we offer tips and insights for our kick-ass new DD community. Our Ingredient Spotlight provides info into the why, what, and how much of our ingredients in the Dirt.
And now, meet one of the most tested and revered superfoods ingredients for peak performance:
Beet juice offers one of the most concentrated forms of dietary nitrate, which raises nitric oxide levels in the bloodstream and helps the arteries relax. This promotes increased blood flow and a more efficient use of oxygen, which means elevated aerobic capacity for athletes, and a healthier heart and greater cardiovascular efficiency for everyone. Although the most convincing science is with beet juice (as it contains over 150% more nitrate than merely eating beets), most beet powder products are sourced direct from the root, as opposed to the juice of the root. Not us. There is a staggering three full grams of beet juice powder in a single serving of Dragon Dirt. Find out about all 18 ingredients at www.drinkthedirt.com
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