Social Plasma

Think Fast, But Respond Carefully

BY ALEXEI ORLOV

Mr. Orlov, formerly CMO of Volkswagen Group China and CEO of the RAPP global agency network, reflects on the wisdom of “slowing down to gather pace.” 


At first reading I loved this; it has so much power to it. And then a very gracious and wise friend of mine added a new dimension: He suggested that the word “react” should be replaced by the word “respond.”

As he succinctly put it: A reaction is what controls you. A response is how you control it.

Such a simple but important inflection that only comes from slowing down and thinking deeper. A wisdom that also only comes with the ages of time and experiences.

All too often, we are far too quick to react. Indeed, how many times have we said something or done something only to wince the following day, wishing we had given more time to what our response should have been?

Some of you who know me well are waiting and have been waiting for me to react to certain things that have happened in my life in the last punishing few months. But I have chosen instead to reflect and at the right moment to respond in a way that is both considered, thoughtful and responsible.

Such a choice has not been easy. But I know that the best of anything comes from care and comes from righteousness.

Those in power — in command of social media, companies and people whose very lives depend on their next move — would do well to be more reflective and then more responsive to the whole of an issue, rather than reactively seeking immediacy over depth.

Think fast, but reflect carefully and respond accordingly. Only then do you have a chance to withstand the actions and reactions of an uncertain world.

— Alexei

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