A guy gave me the middle finger on my drive back to Fredonia over the weekend. I was stopped at a red light and distracted when it turned green, so he blared his horn, flipped me the bird, then vigorously waved me forward.
We drove along for another half-mile until we approached a second red light, where he pulled up beside me. He rolled down his window and gestured that I do the same. Through I was furious at him by now, I declined, thinking it unlikely I could explain why his anger was unjustified in fifteen seconds. So he put his window back up, mouthed “f*** you,” and drove away.
I was angry for the next several minutes, though in retrospect I didn’t need to be, as Victor Frankl described in Man’s Search for Meaning, “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.”
Someone didn’t text you back and you feel rejected? Stimulus-response.
A boy/girl doesn’t like you back and you feel lonely? Stimulus-response.
Failed a test and you’re convinced your future is in jeopardy? Stimulus-response.
Explore the space between stimulus and response and you’ll change your life.