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The Gap Between Stimulus and Response is About a Foot!

The Gap Between Stimulus and Response is About a Foot!

Viktor Frankyl’s quote states: “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.”

In that gap, which is usually tiny, there is enough room for one’s foot as well!  Has that ever happened to you?  You’ve heard something and responded in the gap, without carefully choosing?  Or, you’ve had this great idea and launched into it, and maybe experienced a small or catastrophic disaster, instead of carefully choosing?  A foot-in-mouth response is what can happen when we rush into the gap. 

When speaking of this concept with clients, I invite them to light a whole bunch of matches and specifically focus on the gap between striking the match and the flame igniting.  It’s a split second of time.  It’s the same as when we’re in the heat of a debate, conversation or we simply want to move along a conversation, process or project. 

In the gap, we have the ability to pause, and consider, before we choose.  We can stretch the gap.  We can breathe in the gap.  We can take a step back when in the gap.  The logic and reasoning and consideration can also happen very quickly in the gap.  Remember, the gap is there all of the time and somehow, sometimes, when we’re stuck on warp speed and have an overwhelming drive to move onto the next thing we may feel that we don’t have a choice.  Wrong!  That’s another word for a ‘reactionary’ response.  There’s always a gap and there’s always a choice. 

Given the ‘rahui’ we are all enduring at the moment, the gap between action and reaction may be pressured by our perception of what’s going on around us.  Remember – we all have the ability to choose what happens in the gap, and, we have the ability to slow our thinking down and respond in a calm and considered manner.  

What can you do to stretch the gap between action and reaction, and keep your feet firmly on the ground?