"Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
~ Viktor E. Frankl
It's that darn "space" mentioned in the quote that gets me.
That space feels so small, but it is actually quite large, yet we oftentimes respond in a quick second. The following are questions I ask myself about the space:
If the stimulus is bad, then the following thoughts come to my mind when questioning this space.
- Do you willingly ignore that you actually have decision making power when the stimulus appears?
- Do you ponder the stimulus and then relent?
- Do you talk to yourself to try to understand why the stimulus is actually a stimulus?
- Do you try to talk yourself out of the stimulus as being tantalizing?
- Do you try to rationalize stimulus so that you can continue with the preferred response?
- Do you ignore the stimulus and let it subconsciously fester?
If we don't just give in, then within the space there's a sub-space that we use. That sub-space determines so few of our decisions. It's the sub-space we really want to be in as often as we can.
It's not until I persistently rest in that hard to reach sub-space of "the space" that I am able to respond the way that is really the best for me. Those choices are the ones I rarely ever regret.
I've been using the recitation of this quote to change some of my unwanted habitual behaviors. I'm using this quote to help me reach the sub-space more frequently; to make me more aware.
I believe this is a healthy way to retrain my brain to view certain stimuli differently. The effort is to reassign the stimulus to be no longer tantalizing and recognize it for what it actually is, damaging.
It's efforts like this that have helped me train my brain time and time again with many different habits. I take comfort in the part of the quote where it says that in this effort we can find freedom in our responses.
Freedom from unwanted stimulus would be awesome. Yea for continually discarding guilt!
It's like Jim Rohn says, "Failure is not a single, cataclysmic event. You don't fail overnight. Instead, failure is a few errors in judgment, repeated everyday."