“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 

Ah, the grand old dance of stimulus and response, a tango that’s less about fancy footwork and more about what goes on in the noggin.

You see, life, in its infinite jest and jive, loves to toss things our way—a flat tire, a surprise tax bill, or if you’re really lucky, an unexpected visit from your in-laws. That’s the stimulus, the universe’s way of saying, “Let’s see what you’re made of.”

Now, here’s where it gets interesting.

After life throws its curveball, there’s this magical moment, a pause, a breath, a hiccup in time. It’s like that moment when you’re about to sneeze, and everything stands still. This, my friends, is where things get interesting.

In this space—this glorious, golden gap—we have a choice. It’s like being at a buffet and deciding whether to go for the healthy green salad or the tantalizing, calorie-laden chocolate cake.

In these defining moments, our choices are a reflection of our true selves. Consider my adventures in amateur barbering with my sons. I held an undefeated streak of creative, albeit questionable, haircuts. Each snip was a leap of faith, a bold stroke of the clippers that often led to styles that were, let’s say, unique. There was the ‘accidental Mohawk,’ the ‘lopsided bowl,’ and who could forget the ‘I guess hats are in this season’ look. These were not just haircuts—they were life lessons in disguise.

With scissors in hand during each haircutting session, I was presented with a choice. Do I lament my obvious lack of barbering talent, or do I embrace the laughter, the shrugs, and the ‘hair grows back’ philosophy? I chose the latter, finding humor and a bit of humble pie in each snip. These experiences weren’t just about hair—they were about learning to roll with the punches, to find joy in the unexpected, and to appreciate the beauty in life’s imperfections.

It’s in these choices that we grow, like a Chia Pet watered with wisdom. Every time we pause and pick our response, we’re essentially doing mental yoga, stretching and bending our character, becoming more flexible and less likely to snap like a brittle twig of impatience.

And let’s not forget the cherry on top of this existential sundae: freedom. Yes, in that tiny, often overlooked space between stimulus and response, we find our freedom. It’s like realizing you can wear pajamas to the grocery store and nobody can stop you. It’s liberating, exhilarating, and slightly rebellious.

So, the next time life decides to play dodgeball with your day, remember the power of the pause. Embrace that space, choose your response with the flair of a Shakespearean actor choosing a costume, and watch as you grow and taste the sweet nectar of freedom.

Throwback to 2012 even bad haircuts couldnt diminish their cuteness

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand & 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 ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.