Most of this reactionary "thinking" is no different from all other kinds of ordinary thinking, but in a few - a very few it seems - these usually external negative threats to life and limb serve to ignite parts of their brains where "higher level Thinking" occurs. Such as, but not limited to: "What to do, What to do!?!?" There is such a place (skill, talent, art, function, ability or whatever you want to call it) in everyone, but very few ever experience it. Why? Because ordinary human thought is always reactionary - reacting to stimuli of some kind, both internal and external. And as Albert E. suggested paraphrased here: "We cannot solve our problems (including ordinary reactionary thinking) with the same (ordinary reactionary) thinking we use all the time." Back in the day when parents, siblings and other similarly ordinary people pushed language, ideas and concepts into our brains, there was NO ONE AVAILABLE to teach "higher level Thinking".
That "PLACE" referred to above, is a mythical, even mystical - for most - suggestion of "higher level Thinking" but few there be who have ANYTHING useful to say about it, and so, therein lies the opening premise: the need for negative external influences that serve to ignite parts of the brain where this "higher level Thinking" takes place... sometimes referred to by the fanciful term: Epiphanic mind music... or maybe I read that in a comic book, or maybe I made it up.
It is extremely rare to come up with, to create, to generate, Epiphanic mind music without some stimulus, even if it's just a thought - like riding on a light beam, or a bathtub overflowing, or a fire crackling in one's face sending sparks spiraling up the flue, or an apple falling on one's head. So, how does Life handle this situation, given that the Primary Aim of Life is not suicidal (killing off parts of itself indiscriminately to the overall detriment of the Being) but evolutionary (Growth, and Expansion, of Self and Being): It continually riles up the human species in every way possible, SO THAT a few here and there rise to the higher call of the species, and start producing Thoughts which benefit self and species, one's own and all others.