“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 Frankl 

Life is a constant bombardment of stimuli, each calling for a reaction—like a drummer beating a rhythm on a drum. Yet, nestled within each beat, there’s a pause—a quiet moment, a breath of air—before the drummer hits the drum again. That moment, that pause—it’s the space between stimulus and response—a seemingly insignificant interval that’s brimming with possibility.

That space, as tiny and intangible as it might seem, is where our strength thrives—it’s the crossroads of our freedom and growth. It’s not the stimulus that defines us, but how we wield the hammer of our response. The way the drummer manipulates the sticks, that’s where the music is created, not in the drum itself. Similarly, in that space, we find our power, our ability to direct the rhythm of our lives.

In our responses, we find the seeds of our growth and the wings of our freedom. It’s like a potter molding clay—with each careful, deliberate stroke, the formless mass takes shape. Our reactions, how we choose to respond to each stimulus, shape our personal growth, mold our character. They’re the strokes on the canvas of our lives.

Yet, it is also through our responses that we touch the sky of our freedom. Each choice we make—each reaction—is a bird in flight, carving out a path in the wide-open sky. Our choices are our freedom, shaping not just who we are, but also who we aspire to be—soaring above the circumstances, beyond the stimuli, towards our own horizon.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.