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Perspective 4: You always have a choice in how you respond to something The fourth perspective that can support you in living 'the good life' (see the blog post from August 27, 2023) is that 'you always have a choice in how you respond to something.' Viktor Frankl's famous quote speaks directly to this: "The space between stimulus and response is where our power to choose our response lies. In that choice lies our growth and freedom." Alan Seale adds some nuance to this by stating that your first response can sometimes be instinctive, an immediate reaction. In the face of sudden danger, for example, our bodies may react immediately by producing adrenaline, among other things. From this automatic stress response, a chain of actions can follow. However, you always have the option to choose your second response. This is the conscious response that Viktor Frankl refers to. The higher your level of energy and awareness, the better you can, in any moment, observe yourself within the situation and consciously choose how you want to respond to it, no matter what happens. This enables you to break free from (old) unconscious behavioral patterns. It also gives you the opportunity to harness new possibilities by consciously selecting your way of being and forming a partnership with the unfolding potential. It makes your life lighter, easier, and more pleasant. Distinguishing between 'seeing' and 'perceiving' We truly 'see' something when our brains interpret it by comparing it or forming an opinion about it. The eyes merely transmit signals to our brains. The brain interprets, compares, and determines what something is by comparing it to past experiences. 'Perceiving,' on the other hand, is taking something in as it is, a direct experience without the interference of our brains. What if you could first take in everything as it is through perception and then, without any interpretation, open yourself up to and sense what it has to tell you? Then, from that place, consciously choose how you want to relate to it, in other words, who you choose to be with what is happening. Finally, choose what you will do from that state of being. The effect? Nothing less than inner peace, a powerful sense of self-determination, and the inner certainty and heartfelt confidence that what you undertake is 'right,' aligned with who you are and the situation you find yourself in. Take some time to observe yourself in the coming week. When do you react unconsciously? What does it take for you, in the very moment, to step back and consciously choose your response? And what is the effect of this on both yourself and your surroundings? I wish you a week of joyful discovery! Note: This is the fourth blog post in a series of 7 about seven perspectives that help elevate your happiness and well-being, allowing you to live 'the good life' (Seligman). The seven perspectives are: Everything is information Everything is energy in motion All change begins with awareness You always have a choice in how you respond to something Everything is relative Every situation holds an invitation for learning and growth Everything is Love