He convinced many psychologists that we go straight from stimulus to response.
see food –> eat it
get yelled at –> yell back.
I’m convinced that between the stimulus and response
There is a THOUGHT about that stimulus
Which creates a feeling
Which determines our response.
As in see food –> think “I deserve a treat” –> feel self righteous –> eat it
see food –> think “I’m not hungry” –> feel neutral (or, if you’re me, very proud)
–> ignore the food.
Get yelled at –> think “how dare she yell at me?” –> feel angry –> yell back
Get yelled at –> think “this is all about her” –> feel detached –> walk away (or, if you’re very virtuous, give her a hug).
The exact same stimulus can produce many different responses
Depending on what we choose to think about it.
See Pavlov, we’re humans, not dogs.
People ask me “how do you change your thoughts to change your response?”
Well, it’s easy AND it’s work.
Same as it took Pavlov many trials to condition the dogs to respond to his stimuli,
we humans must take the time to train ourselves to find the pause,
dive into the pause,
eavesdrop on our thinking,
choose the thought that will create the result we want
and condition ourselves to respond to that one.
Even when the self-righteous thoughts, the angry thoughts, the habitual thoughts pop up to compete.
There’s the work.
Choose the thought that makes you feel better.
Choose the thought that promises you the result you want.
that pause takes a split second.
No one will know but you.
It’s the pause that makes you an actor in your life instead of a reactor.
It’s the pause that takes us to a life consciously and mindfully lived.
Take that Pavlov.
This blog was inspired by the above quote that my sister-in-law taped to her very busy, chaotic kitchen cabinet to remind her that she can choose her response, even when surrounded by 2 dogs, 4 sons, perpetual guests, and my crazy brother!)