Someone cut me off in traffic today. My first thought is to tell them they're #1 and perhaps yell a few choice words in their direction!
This is a reaction.
The immediate, instinctive thought or action upon stimulus, whether positive or negative. In negative situations, I will most often react immediately without consideration for the result of my actions.
Someone made a joke at my expense a while back. Instead of immediately reacting by insulting them or lashing out, I took a second to think about what I was going to do next. Sure, it would be easy to turn the joke on them and try to make them look like a fool, but what good would that accomplish? I chose to laugh the joke off and run with their joke to establish that I wasn't going to react and let emotion get the best of me.
This is a response.
I'm faced with this choice everyday. Sometimes I fail. But when I succeed, I find that what could have been a bike with no brakes heading downhill fast becomes a positive situation without residual offense.
Today, I choose to respond thoughtfully instead of reacting instinctively.