Acting Vs. Reacting

This week I spent a few hours at Bull’s Eye shooting range in St. Louis taking my very first class on handguns. Our instructor, Pierce, devoted part of the training to being “held up” at gunpoint and how we can prepare ourselves mentally. He explained how most people are so scared when they see a gun that their first reaction is to freeze with fear… which of course is what the gunman expects, thereby giving him full control of the situation.

Statistics show, however, that if you can surprise the gunman two times, your chance of survival increases by 400%. The focus of this demonstration was “acting is always faster than reacting.”

A reaction is an action performed in response to a situation or event. It has nothing to do with the cause of the event, however. The smartest, safest way to approach a dangerous “mugging” situation is to be aware of your surroundings beforehand and avoid life-threatening situations at all cost. When you’re alert, aware, and attentive to your environment, you have what Pierce refers to as “presence.” With presence, you’re much less likely to be victimized because criminals look for the weak, absent-minded and ill-prepared.

The same rule applies to our level of health. Acting is always better than reacting. But chances are, when caring for your body, you do the opposite…

  • Headache? Swallow some aspirin… Reacting.
  • Back pain? Take some Tylenol… Reacting.
  • Depressed? Grab the Paxil… Reacting.

It probably never occurred to you that the medical model of healthcare is entirely reactive. To their credit, I believe that American medical doctors are the very best in the world at reactive approaches to healthcare. But therein lies the problem… Reaction is not prevention.

Avoiding the 3 F’s (Fatty, Fried, and Fast foods) is a great way to keep our blood vessels clean and prevent heart disease. Imagine all the people who’ve died from “sudden” heart attacks… I’m sure most of them were years in the making.

Exercising, stretching, staying properly hydrated, and receiving spinal check-ups from your chiropractor are easy ways to prevent injuries and reduce dependency on medication.

The reactive approach to health may certainly save lives, but it doesn’t do anything to reduce the incidence of heart disease, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, etc… if it did, these conditions would be unheard of today! Instead, they’re only growing in numbers.

We are nothing without our health. All the money in the world can’t buy it back for you once it’s gone… So be proactive when it comes to sickness and disease. There’s an old chiropractic saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Like the cheesy infomercials always say, ACT NOW!


Great synopsis and a very useful analogy. I’ll check your blog frequently.

I love analogies. Very good post Doc!

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