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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Choose Your Responses

Recently I met up with someone whom I have not seen for awhile. During the course of our conversation, I discovered that my sweet friend was very sad and defeated in her outlook. Apparently she had a tough time since I had seen her last. A college student, she did not have a good relationship with her teacher; the two of them did not seem to match in terms of goals. Actually, I am unsure whether my student friend even had any goals anymore. Perhaps her goals were still there under the surface, but my friend seemed to have buried them so deeply that the goals were invisible to me. Perhaps the same could be said of her teacher as well, that the teacher’s goals were buried deep as well.

This situation is sad on all fronts. The teacher and the student are missing out on the opportunity to have a unique relationship together, and this relationship can be a pleasant and productive one. Or not, and if not, then this relationship becomes an opportunity for both teacher and student to learn how to navigate future such relationships.

I recall reading somewhere that we can achieve goals for one of two basic reasons:

  • We achieve goals because of someone.
  • We achieve goals in spite of someone.

These are two very powerful statements. To achieve a goal because of someone means that we have let someone into our lives and allowed them to have influence over our choices. That someone could be an outside person. That someone could also be our self. How wonderful our goal achieving could be if we were able to tap into the magic of achieving goals because of ourselves!

To achieve a goal in spite of someone can also be a strong motivator: “I’ll show you!” or “I don’t EVER want to be like that!” If we turn a negative experience into something positive by claiming such statements for ourselves, then we have tapped into the magic that we can create ourselves in order to achieve a goal in spite of someone else’s unbelief or negative influence on us.

What this boils down to is that we have the power to choose our response. When I think about this subject, I am reminded of Stephen Covey and his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. My favorite Stephen Covey quote concerns his first habit of being proactive:

“[B]etween stimulus and response there is a space. That space represents our choice— how we will choose to respond to any given situation, person, thought or event.”

Let us not lose sight of our ability to choose our response. When faced with someone or something that is not productive or positive, let us choose how we will respond. Let us choose to achieve our goal agenda and not be buffeted by the winds of someone else’s agenda.

If you are interested in reading Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Peopleclick here.

Have you been thinking about resolutions and goals for this year? I know that I have, and I have had a few insights that I would like to share with you in the coming year. If you were thinking of working on a particular habit or resolution, I would love to hear about it from you in the comments below.

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

©2016 by Paula E. Bird

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