Reaction v Response

Reaction v Response

After surviving Nazi concentration camps, Viktor Frankl famously talked about the gap between stimulus and response. What he called “the last of the human freedoms” is our ability to choose our response to any given situation. I recently came across a variation of this idea in an interview with Harvard professor Sheila Heen, an expert on communication and negotiation. She spoke about how the key to managing difficult conversations is understanding that our reaction to what is being said does not necessarily have to dictate our response. When someone criticises us, or accuses us in some way, our first reaction is very often to defend ourselves – to point out […]

Setting Goals v Acquiring Skills

Setting Goals v Acquiring Skills

“Man is a goal setting machine,” said Aristotle, more than 2000 years ago. That message has been echoed time and again by lots of very smart people in the intervening years by everyone from Seneca through to Benjamin E. Mays. I’ve had some success with goal setting, but the simple fact is that none of us achieve every goal we set ourselves. Using the idea that goals are set in stone but that deadlines are flexible is one way to deal with the ‘disappointment’ of not hitting a goal as quickly as you’d hoped, but I recently came across another way of thinking about goals that has really helped me, […]