Sometime in 2004 I read three sentences from Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” that so moved me that I want to share them with you today:
“Between stimulus and response is a space. In this space lies our freedom to choose our response. In these choices lie our growth and our happiness.”
It’s important to understand the stimulus to understand the response. Stimuli – harsh or kind words or actions, abrasive or soothing sounds, any catalyst provoking reactions – come at us milliseconds before we make decisions that cast the rest of our lives. Our reactions within that miniscule window between stimulus and response give us 100 percent control over our existence.
Taking control and responsibility for that window of time yields personal empowerment, growth and happiness – or unfortunately, lack of all three. Ultimately, the space that Covey refers to is but a blink or two, but it carves the shape of our future.
I’d like you to ask yourself three questions:
We don’t control the people around us, but certainly our actions impact theirs. If you’re not satisfied with your use of this window, consider slowing down before you react. Remain cognizant of stimuli and press pause before your responses. You’ll grow and take control over this window, hence remaining in control of your life.
At Caster Concepts Inc., We Build Trust by pausing between stimulus and response. We avoid knee-jerk reactions and capitalize on the valuable milliseconds in this space. Our employees use this time to formulate thoughts and communicate clearly with clients. I also practice this reflection in my business dealings as well as my personal life.
In living the principals in Covey’s three quoted sentences, the takeaway I’ve learned is that when you gain and strengthen control over this window of time between stimulus and response, it’s like a muscle. It gets stronger and more reflexive, and eventually you’ll never have to say, “I can’t help it,” because you’ll have learned that you can.
Thank you for reading. I invite your comments about recognizing stimuli and controlling your responses and how it impacts your business and personal life.
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