The Space Between
by Janet Shlaes, Ph.D.
“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.”
~ Victor Frankl
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you are always choosing your response to a situation or interaction. The choice may be well thought out over time or take place within a fraction of a second; it may be within your conscious awareness or may feel as though it’s out of your control. Sometimes your choice moves you closer to what you want and hold dear and sometimes it can have the exact opposite impact. The key to consistently making good choices is to intentionally increase the time between the stimulus and your response. This between stimulus and response time can take many forms. Some people increase their between time via taking a few deep breaths or counting to ten; some stop for a moment, go internal and ask: “What do I want to accomplish here?” The answer to this question serves to guide their response. Sometimes, just to amuse myself, I go internal and visualize two thought bubbles, similar to the ones you find in cartoons. The first thought bubble is filled with what I would like to say and the second one is filled with how I actually respond. Once you get into the habit of noticing the space between stimulus and response, you have the capacity to choose your responses from a wise and strategic place. Where might developing this skill enhance the quality of your responses?
For addition insights and observations, I invite you to check out the following posts: