That’s the whole deal.
Last week, among the many school closings, one principal said this:
“We’ll never know if we over-reacted, because nothing will happen. We will only know if we did too little.”
That’s the point of an overreaction. Overreactions are corrections that go beyond what is perceived to be needed. A normal reaction is assumed to try to match the initial action. Serve and volley. Attack and block. If someone gets angry, we think of trying to manage the energy and de-escalate the anger.
Over-reactions go beyond this. Serve and spike. Attach and 5x attack. If someone gets angry, we overwhelm the energy with 10x the anger of our own. These overreactions are shocks to the agreements we normally hold in games and relationships.
Sometimes we need to overreact. We need to change dramatically to shift the momentum of situation. We will never know if the overreaction was actually and overreaction, because the dangerous outcome we are trying to prevent would not come to pass. Instead, in hindsight, the overreaction would look like the appropriate response.
This is not a time of small measures. Go big and stay home.