Between Stimulus And Response

The ABCs of effective living? A = Adversity, B = Belief, and C = Consequent feelings. Our Beliefs (B) about an Adversity (A) – NOT the adversity itself – cause our Consequent (C) feelings. [Seligman] It isn’t what happens to us but how we think about what happens to us that determines how we feel. By stepping into the space between stimulus and response, we can choose a more empowering set of beliefs. But first, we have to see that space.
between stimulus and response

Understanding The Gap

“Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose.” ~ Dr. Stephen Covey, “The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People”

When I first read this statement many years ago, I struggled to understand what it meant. I understood the words, but I didn’t get the concept. It was completely foreign to me. I had become so inured to reacting to whatever I encountered, it never occurred to me that there was any other way to behave. I pondered this idea, discussed it with various friends, and read and re-read that section in Dr. Covey’s book.

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Aligning Actions With Desires

When you embrace the Excelerated Life™, focus comes before goal setting. Without focus, your goals may not reflect your true desires. With focus, you have clarity on what you want and, importantly, why you want it.
aligning actions with desires

Lost Focus

I have a BIG — Bold, Important, Gratifying — goal. I want to have a blog that rates in the top 10% of blogs in the category of self-development. That is a huge goal and one that will take many, many, many steps. It’s my 5 – 10 year goal.

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What You Focus On Expands

Caring people live in a caring world. Loving people live in a loving world. Mean people live in a mean world. Grouchy people live in a grouchy world. It’s the same world . . . what you focus on expands.

“In fact, I don’t understand why I act the way I do. I don’t do what I know is right. I do the things I hate. . . Even when I want to do right, I cannot. Instead of doing what I know is right, I do wrong.” ~ Romans 7: 15, 18b-19 [Bible Gateway]

Three Riders On The Subway

Things were not going well at work. And, if I were truthful with myself, things weren’t going well in my life, period. Much like the apostle, Paul, even when I wanted to do what is right, I didn’t do it.

I scanned the subway cars, looking for one that was near empty. In my foul mood, I really didn’t want to be around anyone. I spotted a car that had only 3 people in it. Shoulders slumped, head down, I stepped in, not making eye-contact with any of the others, moving to a seat as far away as I could get.

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I Changed My Mind

Sometimes the hardest thing to do, and the thing that can make a huge difference in your life, is to say “I changed my mind.”

“It is amazing how many uncomfortable situations people get into and stay in because they are unwilling or afraid to admit that they’ve changed their minds.” ~ Brian Tracy

Do you know one of the main reasons people lose money in the stock market? They don’t have an exit strategy. They don’t know when to cut their losses and get out of a bad investment. Or, they think that if they just hang in there, the stock will rebound and they’ll make their money back. It seems to go against our nature to face up to a loss or a situation that is going badly and to make a change. Sometimes, one of the best things you can say is “I changed my mind.”

We stay in circumstances that are uncomfortable, unprofitable, unfulfilling, sometimes even dangerous, rather than taking the steps to make a change and improve the situation. We find it too hard to say “I changed my mind.”

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Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true. ~ Demosthenes

My Two Sets Of Glasses

I wear glasses. I’ve worn them since the sixth grade which is, well, quite a few years. Here is an interesting thing about wearing glasses. Once I put them on, I forget I’m wearing them. I mean, of course one can see better. But other than that, I don’t feel them on my face and I don’t have the sensation of looking through something. I usually don’t even think about having them on or remember that I’m looking through them at the world.

I also wear a different set of glasses . . . and so do you. These “glasses” are the beliefs you and I have, through which our view of the world is colored and shaped. And, just as I do with my physical glasses, we typically don’t realize we’re wearing our glasses of beliefs.

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Wishin’ And Hopin’

Our goals and aspirations generally fall into two categories – what we say we want and what we really want as shown by our actions. What do your actions say that you want?

“Just wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’ and plannin’ and dreamin’ . . .” ~ Wishin’ And Hopin’ by Dusty Springfield

Actions Speak Louder . . .

“I’m very dependable; you can count on me,” my friend told me at lunch one day. She did not see the irony in the fact that she had been 10 minutes late that day and had been late the last two times we met. I did what I usually do in those situations — I smile and nod and then watch to see if the actions suit the word. “Who you are speaks so loudly,” said Emerson, “I can’t hear what you are saying.”

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The Next You

It’s useful to have role models to guide us, but don’t waste time trying to become your role model. Instead, focus on being the next you . . . the Best You.

The Next Bob Dylan

What do you want to be and to do? Some people say things like “I want to be the next Oprah” or “the next Hemingway” or “the next Tiger Woods”. There is a different way. How about being the next You?

When I was about 12 years old, I had an experience that had a major impact on my life. I heard my first Bob Dylan song. This was my stepping stone for going from childhood to adolescence. Dylan’s songs and his singing had a lasting influence on me.

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Sharpen Your Focus

In a world of growing distractions, it becomes increasingly important to be able to “go deep”, to ignore the “shiny objects” and focus on the things that are truly important to you.

Get The Big Rocks In First

A professor brought a wide-mouthed glass jar to class and set it on a table. From under the table, he brought out a bucket of large rocks. He began placing rocks into the glass jar until no more would fit.

He asked the class, “Is the jar full?”

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Why You Need Focused Energy

“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.” ~ Source obscure

The Joke’s On Me

My daughters love to play practical jokes on me. The April Fool’s Day tricks they have orchestrated over the years have become legendary to my friends.

One morning, and not April 1, I got in my car and turned the switch. The car sprang into life! The lights came on, the wipers started beating back and forth, the blinkers started blinking, the heater sent out a blast of air, the radio blared. Those little stinkers had turned on everything they could in my car. Continue reading “Why You Need Focused Energy”

Want to change a behavior? Change your environment.

“Many of our repeated behaviors are cued by everyday environments, even though people think they’re making choices all the time.” ~ Wendy Wood

You and I may think we’re in control of our actions, but research shows that nearly ½ of human behaviors occurs in the same location each day and is cued by the environment. [Duke Today] Recall Charles Duhigg’s “habit loop”, the 3-step process that causes habits to develop. [Duhigg] The habit loop consists of 1) cue, 2) routine, and 3) reward. Repetition of this loop over time causes a behavior (the routine) to become ingrained as habit.

According to Wendy Wood, formerly the James B. Duke professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke and now at the University of Southern California, the cue is often our environment. Continue reading “Want to change a behavior? Change your environment.”