Viktor Frankl was a neurologist, psychologist, Holocaust survivor, and author of ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’.
He also happens to be the author of the most profound quote I have ever come across. In this quote, is the key to finding inner freedom.
“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 Frankl (1905-1997)
People often describe things as stimulus-response pairings.
- My friend told a joke and I laughed.
- I got an ‘F’ and it made me sad.
- It is pouring outside and it is miserable.
- He punched me, so I punched him back.
It is as if we are machines where a specific action, or stimulus, requires a specific response.
Not only is this line of thought wrong, it is extremely debilitating. If we think this way, we lose ourselves. We become reactive creatives that simply respond to our surroundings.
The brilliance of the quote is realizing that there is this space between stimulus and response. If you can recognize this space, and then operate in this space, you no longer become a reactive creature.
You get to choose how you respond.
Let us return to the stimulus response pairs above.
- My friend told a joke. Although everyone laughed, it was an unfair jab at another friend’s expense, so I publicly backed my other friend up.
- I got an ‘F’. It didn’t feel great, but I took it as a challenge to apply myself next time.
- It is pouring outside. It just happens that I like to run in the rain, and then come in for a hot shower!
- He punched me. It was for no good reason. I don’t believe in fighting for the heck of it, so I walked away.
Within this space is the room for choice. And within this choice, is the freedom to become whoever you want to be.
Learn to make good decisions within this space, and watch your life magically change before your eyes.
Except there is no magic.
There is only choice.
P.S. This is post number #8 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!
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