Saturday, August 27, 2011

True Story: Stimulus vs Reaction

Existential psychiatrist Victor Frankl taught that our lives have many spaces between moments of stimulation and moments of reaction when we have the power to choose a response. “In that response lies our growth and our freedom,” he said.

Saturday, Olivia was in her usual spot as goal keeper for her soccer club. It was the penultimate game of the season. She had only let two scores past her in the previous eight games and had already made a great stop on a free kick despite it being a windy day. Her team was in first place and she was looking forward to playing goal keeper for her high school whose season is about to start.

A ball was kicked at her, the wind caught it, made it “Bend like Beckham,” nothing she could do, it slipped past her into the goal. Frustrated that she missed it, she punched the goal post. Nevertheless, her team won 2-1 and also won Sunday’s game. It finished the season 9-0-1, in first place with 22 goals made vs. 3 goals against.

Of course, you know the rest of the story. Her boxing hand looked like it had a deep bruise so she had the doctor check it out when she was there for a regular appointment yesterday. He took x-rays, confirmed a broken bone, sent her to a specialist who she saw today, and she’s having surgery tomorrow morning. Likely she will be out for the whole high school season as well as the Thanksgiving club tournament where the college coaches come to check out the talent.

Never forget that you may not have the power to choose the stimuli in your life, but you do have the power to choose how you respond to it. Rarely does that choice lead to disastrous consequences like Olivia’s, but all those small choices you make every moment of every day will determine the direction of your life.

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