There is only one moment you need to transform. By transforming this moment your entire life improves dramatically. It is this moment that Dr. Viktor Frankl refers to when he says, “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.”
I recently spent some time with my wife which can be a novelty when you have eight kids. During our time together my wife expressed a number of things that I do which she really appreciates. One was that I handle all of the finances for our family. Another was that whenever any of our kids need something arranged or taken care they know they can come to me and I will take care of it for them. I had expressed to my wife a number of things which I appreciate about her. One of them was her tireless dedication towards our children and her caring for them.
We were in the car on our way home and I passed my phone to my wife and asked her to type a text message to our daughter from me being that I was driving. Our daughter was going to be taking a train home from New York later that day. She has a debit card which she uses for purchases such as a train ticket. That morning I realized that there was no money in the debit card account so I wanted to let her know so she could plan accordingly and not get stuck in the train station without any money. I began to dictate the text that I wanted to send to her. Here’s what I said, “The debit card doesn’t have any money on it.”
At this moment, my wife suddenly interjected and with concern in her voice said, “How is she going to buy a train ticket and get home?” This was actually the exact same concern I had which was why I was sending her this text. However, the moment that my wife interjected with clear concern in her voice I was ready to jump into my natural defensive mode. I almost responded in some of the classic ways that I had responded in the past. “You think I didn’t think of that?” or “I don’t need your help handling this, I have this under control.” Or “Did you even know that the debit card to didn’t have any money in the account?” This is what I could have and would have said had I not begun practicing capturing this moment and transforming it.
Why would I respond in such defensive ways? For a simple reason. The way I heard my wife’s words was not as a concern for our daughter but as a judgment on me. My own insecurity translated my wife’s concern into an attack on me, assuming that she said I am not being responsible and I am putting our daughter in a very vulnerable situation and any other types of thoughts that we think when we are insecure. The irony of this all is that when I respond defensively, I can see from my wife’s look at me that she has no idea where I’m coming from. How can she? She said one thing and I am responding to a completely different statement.
In this particular situation, shortly beforehand we just had a conversation where I expressed heartfelt gratitude for the fact that she is so devoted to our children. Her question of how our daughter was going to buy a train ticket was out of her great dedication and concern for our children which I appreciate so much. I was also just reminded by her how much she appreciates that I handle the finances and the needs of the kids. It should have been clear to me that her statement was not a judgment on me at all but rather a loving mother’s instinctive concern about her child. Yet, when this very brief moment slips through our fingers and we don’t have the training to process what our loved ones say to us, we very often personalize their words due to our own defensiveness and insecurity.
What I did say in this instance, despite my awareness of those defensive feelings, was something unnatural for me. I said, “That’s the next issue I’m going to address in the text.” I then continued dictating the text. “If you need money to buy a ticket please borrow money from a friend and you’ll pay them back when you return.” Now, if you’re wondering how this all turned out, my daughter texted back shortly afterward that she had bought a round-trip ticket earlier in the week so she did not need to buy a ticket.
What I’m attempting to demonstrate is that there is only one moment you need to transform. By transforming this moment your entire life improves dramatically. It is this moment that Dr. Viktor Frankl refers to when he says, “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.” This space that Dr. Frankl speaks of takes only one second on the clock. This is part of the reason why it slips through our fingers so quickly. However, when we train ourselves to catch this second and use it to choose our response, so much of our life begins changing. If there’s one moment that can dramatically improve your life, it’s this moment.
There are two things I must point out about this moment.
1. It repeats itself numerous times a day. While this can be challenging, it means we have endless opportunities.
2. It requires repeated conscious practice to grab ownership of this space of power.
There is a process that we can follow which makes it much easier for us to capture this moment which repeats itself so often in life. When we follow this process we dramatically increase peacefulness, equanimity, enhanced relationships, and happiness in our lives. All of these benefits come out of capturing this one moment. It is this process that makes us less self-oriented as we stop personalizing everything that goes on around us.
Briefly, the process works like this:
- Be aware of the words or action that took place.
- Be aware of your personalized judgment of what it says about you.
- Notice the negative feelings being created by your personalization.
- Pause and create a space so you can reevaluate the event and the notice a more honest and less defensive version of what happened
- Only then do you respond.
Practice this over and over and over as often as you can. You will notice a good number of opportunities to do this every single day when people engage you in one way or another. Capture this moment and you can’t imagine what this will do for your life.
Do you wish you knew how to do this? Do you believe that it isn’t really realistic to be able to capture this moment? Do you realize how this can transform your life? If you answered yes to these three questions you’ll want to go to beginning within.com and click on courses because it’s there that I will hold your hand step-by-step until you learn how to do this and experience a different life. I spent years putting this together for you. It’s finally done. Sometimes we spend our time and money on everything but the one thing. I can tell you from experience that this is the one thing that will transform everything.
Are you ready to take this on? Then meet me at beginningwithin.com and click on courses and if you have any questions whatsoever you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Take it on!