Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Between Stimulus and Response

I was thinking about Viktor Frankl's words,

"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."

While I am sure this may be perfectly obvious to most people, especially anyone who has heard Dr. Stephen Covey talk about this topic, the idea of the space between stimulus and response is the essence of being proactive rather than reactive.  When there is no space created, we simply react.  The more space created, the greater likelihood of a thoughtful response.

Does this idea jive with another oft-heard quip? "Trust your gut feeling."  Can you create a space between stimulus and response and trust your gut feeling at the same time?  It seems that an immediate reaction to something might be your gut reaction, but it also might not be a chosen response.  Oppositely, creating the space after a challenging stimulus is presented gives you time to respond after giving your actions time and thought.  Perhaps this is when you occasionally go against your gut instincts.

What about those questions you occasionally ponder that linger for months and months.  The response you want probably wrestles with your gut feelings until you are sick to your stomach!  What you really want, what you think you want, what your gut is telling you to do, and the sheer inability to make a decision just might be too much space between stimulus and response.

Is it possible that too much time can be created between stimulus and response?  I think so!  While I wholeheartedly believe that space must be created to choose your best response to any given stimulus, too much space will eventually cloud the entire decision.  This leads to indecision...and perhaps indigestion!

Another good quote to end this thinking, brought to you by the Canadian Rock and Roll trio, Rush.

"If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice..."