Brian Mayne writes about how taking charge of your responses makes you response-able.
Our ability to choose our response is our greatest freedom. We are each able to think about our own thinking, define our own beliefs, create our own habits and, ultimately, shape our own life.
Thought is always the first point of creation. Everything that has ever been created in the history of the world began as someone’s idea. Every great work of art, every empire, every achievement of any nature was once simply a thought in someone’s mind. Likewise, every habit, action, and emotion you experience also begins as a thought.
In the words of Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher and Roman Emperor,
“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke.”
Some people believe that ‘the way they are is the way they are, and there’s nothing they can do about it’. Some even argue for their weaknesses and list reasons why they can’t change or improve their life – it’s their genes, their upbringing or their environment that is holding them back.
But these things, no matter how strong, are only ever influences in our lives, they do not determine who we are or how we feel. We always have the ability to improve ourselves and influence our lives.
While there may be times when our physical options are limited, we always have the freedom to choose our mental and emotional response, our outlook and attitude. We can choose to be our best, and through that we make the most of ourselves.
- When you change the way that you think about everything, everything about you will change.
- Learning to choose a positive response to a negative situation allows you to find the opportunity in difficulty and change any aspect of yourself.
- It’s not what happens that makes the biggest difference. It’s how you respond that makes the biggest difference.
- Being able to choose your response is like a muscle – you must exercise it for it to grow strong. Practise choosing your response on little things (like choosing happiness while stuck in traffic) and you’ll strengthen your ability to choose your response on the big things of life.