“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.” – Victor Frankl
I hear you. Starting with a sappy quote is a bit cliché. In this instance, I felt compelled to start with a quote that has had such an impact on my life.
I heard of this quote when I was working at Tesla. In that work environment, there was constant change and uncertainty with so much being expected of us day in and day out.
I would read this quote and there’s a calming and empowering truth behind it; your experience of life has much more to do with how you respond to stimuli than the actual stimuli.
Most situations and circumstances are outside of our control. You didn’t choose to…
- Lose your job
- Hurt your back
- Get overlooked for the promotion
- Be treated poorly by someone you trusted
- Lose a loved one
The only choice we have is in our response. However, we aren’t trained to develop that space between stimulus and response. Our natural tendency is to react based on our genetics, our conditioning, and our programming.
In that reaction, there is no space. So how do we develop that space so we can have more freedom to choose our response?
A technique that I want to share with you is one I call RISE UP!
RISE includes the practical steps to take when experiencing stimuli that invoke a difficult emotion.
UP details the mindset to adopt as you respond to the stimuli.
Here’s how it works.
Something happens that triggers a difficult emotion within you.
Rather than react, you…
Recognize (and allow)
Become aware of the feeling that arose with you. Notice it. Allow it to be there.
Inquire (with acceptance)
Explore the feeling. Be curious. What led to the feeling arising? What are the causes? Approach your inquiry with acceptance for the feeling that is there. Avoid any judgement.
See (and understand)
See the reality. Fully experience the truth. The feeling is in you. The feeling is not in anyone else. The feeling is something you are looking at, meaning YOU are not the feeling. It is an object of your attention.
Once you see the truth of the feeling that is within you, you allow it to release on its own. There is no effort here. There is nothing that you DO. This is something that you allow. If the feeling lingers, go back to R and repeat the process.
Throughout this process, you are unwaveringly kind, loving, and compassionate to yourself. Too often we tend to judge, criticize, and get down on ourselves for feeling the way that we do. No matter the initial reaction, no matter the situation, we approach ourselves with compassion.
Patience and Persistence
We are patient with ourselves, knowing that we won’t be perfectly mindful all the time. We will slip up, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean we are passive and we give up! We remain persistent in our practice with the intention to continue growing and developing ourselves.
There you have it! So if at any point this week you encounter a challenge that threatens to throw you off your game or even knock you down to the floor, remember to RISE UP!