Freedom of choice and its 4 Components. Respond not React.

Freedom of choice

Freedom of choice is the space between stimulus and response. We can choose our response instead of reacting to our external circumstances.

If we react then we lose our control and our external circumstances control our fate. In responding to circumstances however we take our destiny in our own hands.

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Imagination
  3. Conscience
  4. Independent Will

1) Self Awareness in freedom of choice

“We are not our feelings. We are not our moods, We are not even our thoughts.

Self-awareness enables us to stand apart and examine even the way we “see” ourselves-our self paradigm, the most fundamental paradigm of effectiveness.
It affects not only our attitudes and behaviors but also how we see other people. It becomes our map of the basic nature of mankind

Stephen R. Covey

The above words explain to us about the unique ability of humans that is self-awareness. Most people believe determinism. Determinisms like Genetic determinism that says you are what you are because of your DNA.

Psychic determinism that says that you are what you are because of how your parents raised you or Environmental determinism that says that you are what you are because of the present circumstances and relationships that you currently have like your spouses or children.

They think people can’t truly change or reinvent themselves. They believe they are captive of their past or their present circumstances.

Asking people if they are a product of nature or nurture, most people answer either one or the other or a combination of the two. Stephen Covey says that you are neither a product of nature nor nurture. You are a product of your own choices.

By diligently making the choices you can determine the direction of your life and create your reality. We can reinvent ourselves. If you were abused as a child you don’t have to abuse your child. In the space between the stimulus and response lies the freedom of choice.

2) Imagination

We, humans, are creative beings. Living in a consumer culture unless we have a job that demands creative decision making our creativity over time dulls down.

We have the power to visualize and imagine a world in our minds that are beyond our present circumstances.

freedom of choice

In the protest against racial discrimination, Mr. Martin Luther King Jr imagined a country that would treat all its citizens with respect and equality.

That imagination, in his famous speech where he said: “I have a Dream” filled the entire nation with passion and energy to stand up against the unjust treatment of racial minorities.

Our imagination is a powerful force within us.

3) Conscience

We all have within us an awareness of what is right and wrong. We can all look towards the principles that govern our behavior and analyze to which degree our thoughts and actions are in sync with them.

The proactive step of reclaiming your conscience will provide you with immense strength and confidence within you whereas when you go against your conscience your life will over time feel more and more distressing no matter how good your circumstances may be.

Conscience always comes back and the conflict we feel when we break ourselves against principles that govern our behavior, we come to realize the moral injury we feel inside.

The tangible losses we feel by our choices when we listen to our conscience are limited but when our repeated actions go against our conscience we can’t estimate the damage we face on our morality. We should be aware of that intangible loss.

4)Independent will in freedom of choice

Independent will is the ability to act based on our self-awareness, free from all other influences. Most animals can’t do that since Self-awareness is a uniquely human skill.

Most animals can be programmed by instinct and training. Even when those animals can be trained to be responsible they can’t take responsibility for that training. That means they can’t direct it, can’t change their programming.

They are not even aware of it. By using our self-awareness we can notice the difference between our beliefs and the truth and change our programming over time.

Thus moving away from all the deterministic self-fulfilling prophesies that most humans give in to and create our path by using this independent will to exercise our freedom of choice.

“The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance.”

― Viktor E. Frankl

Between stimulus and response lies the freedom of choice

Stephen Covey in his book states that the word responsibility is “Response-ability” which is the ability to choose our response

freedom of choice

For some people that have been powerfully deprived or rejected or faced with conditional love.

They have a very small space while others that have grown in a family that showered them with unconditional love might have a large space.

The good thing is that anyone with no matter how little or large that space they have can take responsibility and initiative.

By applying focus on it and using it little by little they can eventually grow that space and eventually the responses they choose change the stimulus they face.

“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.”

― Viktor E. Frankl

In Conclusion

So here’s the truth. When we start to change our behavior patterns it becomes really hard even if we do realize we can choose.

What we can do however is monitor our thoughts when we choose our actions. By trying to slow down our decision-making we do what is called the conscious inaction before we make decisions.

Later we can go through the decisions we finally came to and rethink what we could have done better and what would have been more in sync with our principles and conscience.

Overtime when we keep practicing this we do what is called is unconscious inaction. As soon as we face a situation our thoughts pause before we go down a chain of thought and we thus have more time between our stimulus and response.

Thus by taking control and not acting out on our feelings and emotions, we empower ourselves to not live by the scripts that are programmed in our minds but the choices that agree with our morality.

That’s all for this blog. I hope this week you try and pull yourself out of the victim mindset whenever possible and begin by trying to choose your response.

We urge you to explore what your callings are. Do you possess the courage to chase them? We provide a free ebook called The perfect beginning that might help you in finding those callings.

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Well, that’s all for this post. Have a good day and a good life.