When you poke a bear with a stick, you get an immediate response. The poke from the stick is the stimulus and the growl accompanied by a large paw and sharp claws flying at your face is the response. Animals have a limited ability to control their response to any given stimulus.
We are not animals.
We are human beings.
We have been created with the ability to control our responses. Not only control what type of response we have, and to what degree we react, but we can decide how to react.
Numerous thoughts go through our mind right before we react. The more time we can allow our brain to process the stimulus and formulate a response, the better our odds are of producing a good, productive and beneficial response.
A close friend sends you an email with a harsh tone (stimulus). Don’t reply right away. Wait a few hours, or a day before responding. You will likely cool down, and be able to reply (response) in a more constructive way.
A new job opportunity is presented to you (stimulus). This job will include a substantial pay increase, but will involve a considerable amount of travel. Take a few days to think and pray about your response. Talk to your loved ones and/or spouse about the impact this could have on your family.
A few key questions to ask yourself:
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our responses. in those choices lie our growth and our happiness” – Stephen Covey
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