Response Ability


You can constrain a man to a physical location, you can subject him to untold hardship, and afflict him excruciating pain but you cannot determine his response without his consent. Eleanor Roosevelt observed “no one can hurt you without your consent”. It is our willing permission, our consent to what happens to us, that hurts us far more than what happens to us in the first place.

Sometimes we are forced into situations we have no control over but our response is entirely up to us. Our response in our time of greatest trial stem not from the trial itself but from the person we have become prior to the trial. The father of every action is thought and our underlying belief governing our thoughts determine our predetermined response.

Generally we have come to accept the power of conditioning and conditions in the outcome of life but to say we have no control over the influence of our conditioning and our conditions is too ascribe ultimate power to our situation and exempt us from being able to pioneer change which is not so.

Stephen Covey in his book 7 habits of highly effective people outline the three theories of determinism in explaining the nature of man. First he talks of Genetic Determinism, which basically say your grandparents did it to you, postulating that our behaviors have their roots in our DNA and genes. Secondly he talks of Psychic determinism, which basically says your parents did it to you. So your upbringing, your childhood experience essentially laid out your personal tendencies. And thirdly he talks of environmental determinism which basically says your boss, your spouse, a bully, the economic situation or national policy is doing it to you.

So are the results we are getting solely determined by one or more of these determinism theories? But Stephen covey goes on to outline that between our external stimuli and our response is man’s freedom to choose. Within the freedom to choose are those endowments that make us uniquely human. These endowments in addition to self-awareness we have our imagination – the ability to create in our minds beyond our present reality. We have conscience – a deep inner awareness of right and wrong, of the principles that govern our behavior and he we have independent will – the ability to act based on our self-awareness, free of all other influences. If we are going to be effective and successful we must exercise our freedom to choose our response not base on the stimuli we are getting but on our human endowments.

You must make deliberate efforts to work on your self-awareness and understand your individuality. It’s in finding ourselves that we can truly and effectively give ourselves to helping and bettering other people. Your unique human endowments makes it possible for you to write new programs for yourself that is totally apart from your instinct and training. Between stimuli and response lies our greatest power – the freedom to choose.

So regardless of what you are going through, can you paint a picture of your desired outcome with brush strokes so thick it determines your chosen response as you exercise your will to behave contrary to your immediate experience.

Viktor Frankl the psychiatrist and a Jew could survive the death camps of Nazi Germany because his self-identity was intact and he could decide within himself how all he was going through was going to affect him.

A job loss, a broken relationship, a difficult boss, untold failure, lack, scarcity, poverty, a divorce are all negative stimuli but you are responsible for your response, your response ability is solely up to you. You have the freedom to choose how you respond and how you respond changes your outcome.

Finally it was Gandhi that said “they cannot take away our self-respect if we do not give it to them”. Your circumstances are a gun but your responses are bullets, the gun is a potent weapon but without the bullets it’s but a piece of metal. Hold on to your bullets, stay the course, fight, win and conquer.

Commit to a daily routine to grow your mind.

That’s G.Y.M for today and I trust that you are charged up and obsessed with a burning desire to succeed. Ordinary is a misnomer for you.

Plan, Act and Pursue your dream.

Orezi Emeotu

#GrowYourMind Coach


Twitter Handle: @oreziemeotu

Instagram: oreziemeotu

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Telephone: +2348186210690


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