Stephen Covey

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.

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3 Responses to Stephen Covey

  1. shinichi says:

    Between Stimulus and Response There Is a Space. In That Space Is Our Power To Choose Our Response

    Viktor E. Frankl? Stephen R. Covey? Rollo May? Thomas Walton Galloway? Sheldon P. Stoff? B. F. Skinner? Anonymous?

    Quote Investigator

    https://quoteinvestigator.com/2018/02/18/response/

    ***

    Dear Quote Investigator: It is possible to control ones reactions and feelings even when one is faced with frightening hardships. The psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl has been credited with the following:

    Between stimulus and response there is space.
    In that space is our power to choose our response.
    In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

    I doubt this ascription because no one provides a proper citation. What do you think?

    Quote Investigator: Researchers have been unable to find this passage in the works of Viktor E. Frankl.

    Instead, the words were popularized by the influential motivational author Stephen R. Covey; however, he disclaimed authorship. Covey stated that he read the passage in a book while he was on sabbatical in Hawaii, but he was unable to recall the name of the book or the author. Also, the precise phrasing employed by Covey varied over time. He may have been reading an article by the influential psychologist Rollo May. Details for this hypothesis are given further below.

    An intriguing thematic precursor appeared in the 1917 book “The Use of Motives in Teaching Morals and Religion” by Thomas Walton Galloway. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:

    Personality has three main parts: (1) the receiving portion (receptors) that looks out on stimuli (attention and appreciation are its great functions); (2) a responding side (effectors) that looks toward behavior or response; and (3) that which lies between stimulus and response whose function is to correlate and adjust behavior to stimulus. This third region is where our real personal values lie. This is where we grow most.

    QI believes that the top candidate for Covey’s reading material was an article within a 1963 collection called “Behavioral Science and Guidance: Proposals and Perspectives”. The article titled “Freedom and Responsibility Re-Examined” was authored by the psychologist Rollo May. The following passage discussed “freedom” and a “pause”. Emphasis added to excerpts by QI:

    Freedom is thus not the opposite to determinism. Freedom is the individual’s capacity to know that he is the determined one, to pause between stimulus and response and thus to throw his weight, however slight it may be, on the side of one particular response among several possible ones.

    The words above differed from Covey’s, but an inexact recollection may have led Covey to paraphrase May’s notion.

    Here are additional selected citations in chronological order.

    The theme of a “pause” or “gap” between “stimulus and response” occurred multiple times in May’s 1963 article as shown by the following two additional excerpts:

    Out of this capacity to experience a “gap” between self and world, between stimulus and response, man has developed his capacity to use symbols, to reason, and to speak in language. These are the unique ways in which mind expresses itself.

    Indeed I would define mental health as the capacity to be aware of the gap between stimulus and response, together with the capacity to use this gap constructively.

    In 1967 C. Harold McCully published an article in the periodical “Guidelines”, and he presented a condensed version of May’s statement while citing the 1963 article:

    Man has the capacity for pause between stimulus and response — he may choose among alternatives in responding (May, 1963). This is the taproot of individual freedom.

    In 1975 Rollo May published a book titled “The Courage to Create” which included a chapter called “The Delphic Oracle as Therapist”. The chapter contained a statement that matched the saying under examination:

    Human freedom involves our capacity to pause between stimulus and response and, in that pause, to choose the one response toward which we wish to throw our weight. The capacity to create ourselves, based upon this freedom, is inseparable from consciousness or self-awareness.

    In 1976 a collection called “Opening Up Education” included an essay titled “The Currency of Freedom” by Sheldon P. Stoff of Adelphi University. The essay contained a thematic statement:

    Yet human behavior is still being explained by current psychology in terms of the stimulus-response theory. This theory may suit automatons but it denies the very premise of human freedom: Namely, that man himself shall intervene (to choose and to decide) between stimulus and response. It ignores the real man and his climb towards lasting values. In its undue emphasis on externals it loses sight of the inner quest, the fateful encounter of a man with himself, his primary need for self-conquest.

    In 1989 Stephen R. Covey published the bestselling self-help book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” which included a discussion of Viktor Frankl who was imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Covey spells “Viktor” as “Victor”:

    They could control his entire environment, they could do what they wanted to his body, but Victor Frankl himself was a self-aware being who could look as an observer at his very involvement. His basic identity was intact. He could decide within himself how all of this was going to affect him. Between what happened to him, or the stimulus, and his response to it, was his freedom or power to choose that response.

    Covey reiterated the point above several times in the book, but he was not presenting a quotation from Victor Frankl:

    Our unique human endowments lift us above the animal world. The extent to which we exercise and develop these endowments empowers us to fulfill our uniquely human potential. Between stimulus and response is our greatest power—the freedom to choose.

    Near the end of the volume Covey mentioned that years earlier he and his family had taken a sabbatical leave from his university to live for a year in Oahu, Hawaii. While visiting a local college library he encountered a book with a passage that affected him deeply:

    I read the paragraph over and over again. It basically contained the simple idea that there is a gap or a space between stimulus and response, and that the key to both our growth and happiness is how we use that space.

    I can hardly describe the effect that idea had on my mind. Though I had been nurtured in the philosophy of self-determinism, the way the idea was phrased—“a gap between stimulus and response”—hit me with fresh, almost unbelievable force.

    In 1994 Covey co-authored a book titled “First Things First” with A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill. In this work Covey presented an exact match to the quotation under examination. He saw the words in an unnamed book, but he employed the phrase “the essence of it” to signal that his memory was inexact:

    Stephen: Years ago, as I was wandering between the stacks of books at a university library, I chanced to open a book in which I encountered one of the most powerful, significant ideas I’ve ever come across. The essence of it was this:

    “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.”

    That idea hit me with incredible force. In the following days, I reflected on it again and again.

    In 2001 a message in the Usenet newsgroup alt.martial-arts.karate.shotokan implausibly attributed the quotation to psychologist B. F. Skinner:

    It follows my discussion on faith, finances, and this: 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 freedom (B.F. Skinner).

    In 2004 Covey wrote the foreword to a book by Pat Croce. Covey retold the tale of discovering the book that inspired the quotation. Interestingly, he specified the year 1969:

    In 1969, I took a sabbatical from my university teaching to write a book. Wandering through the stacks of a university library in Hawaii one day, I pulled down a book, opened it, and read three lines that truly changed my life. They became the foundation for my own work, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

    Covey’s memory from 2004 of what he read in 1969 suggests that he may have been inspired by the quotation in Rollo May’s 1963 article or by the condensed statement in C. Harold McCully’s 1967 article. On the other hand, it is unlikely that he was inspired by Rollo May’s 1975 book “The Courage to Create” because it appeared too late.

    Also in 2004 a message in the Usenet newsgroup alt.recovery.addiction.alcoholism attributed the quotation to Victor Frankl and specified a book that does not contain the quotation:

    “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” — Victor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

    In 2008 Covey wrote the foreword to “Prisoners of Our Thoughts: Viktor Frankl’s Principles for Discovering Meaning in Life and Work” by Alex Pattakos. Covey gave a slightly different version of the quotation and stated that he had unsuccessfully attempted to determine the author:

    I read the following three lines, which literally staggered me and again reaffirmed Frankl’s essential teachings:

    Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
    In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response.
    In our response lies our growth and our happiness.

    I did not note the name of the author, so I’ve never been able to give proper attribution. On a later trip to Hawaii I even went back to find the source and found the library building itself was no longer present.

    In conclusion, Stephen R. Covey discovered a passage in a book that he believed beautifully articulated the thoughts of Viktor E. Frankl. The passage was not written by Frankl. Also, Covey was never able to recall who wrote the words. Further, Covey altered the words over time. By 2004 one version of the text had incorrectly been ascribed directly to Frankl.

    The top candidate for Covey’s inspiration is a passage in a 1963 article by Rollo May. The phrasing is different, but the vocabulary and the underlying idea are quite similar.

    Image Notes Picture of Stephen Covey; author: Stephen Covey (author) – FMI Show Palestrante; Abras2010; derivative work: Hekerui; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported. Picture of fingers in sunlight; author: ClaudiaBassi; retouched and resized by QI; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International, 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0. Picture of Viktor Frankl circa 1965; author: Prof. Dr. Franz Vesely, Viktor-Frankl-Archiv; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany.

    (Great thanks to Craig Terlau, Shira Taylor Gura, Gavin Morrice, Brian Salomaki, and Gary Gach whose inquiries led QI to formulate this question and perform this exploration. Both Terlau and Salomaki helpfully pointed to Covey as the popularizer of the saying. The Wikiquote webpage for Viktor Frankl also points to Covey. Special thanks to Charles McLafferty Jr. who told QI about the important passage written by Rollo May in “The Courage to Create”. McLafferty acknowledged the help of Dmitry Leontiv and Alex Pattakos in identifying the connection to Rollo May.

    Many thanks to Elizabeth Lock who provided crucial information to QI. Lock found a match in a book called “Readings in Guidance” that pointed to the article by Rollo May titled “Freedom and Responsibility Re-Examined” in the 1963 collection “Behavioral Science and Guidance: Proposals and Perspectives”. Lock suggested that Covey’s remark was derived from May’s 1963 article.)

    Update History: On March 23, 2018 the 1968 and 1975 citations for Rollo May were added. On March 26, 2018 the article was revised to indicate that the quotation was missing in the 1968 citation. On March 27, 2018 the 2004 citation to Covey’s foreword within a book by Pat Croce was added.On September 21, 2018 QI added citations dated 1963 and 1967. QI also updated the conclusion.

  2. shinichi says:

    (sk)

    Between stimulus(刺激) and response(反応) there is a space.
    In that space is our power to choose our response.
    In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

    response〔刺激に対する生体の〕反応
    reaction〔刺激に対する生体の〕反応

    stimulus と response のあいだの space が大事。
    stimulus と reaction のあいだには space がない。

    Internet のせいで、stimulus に対してなにも考えず react する人が増えた。

    space を大事にして、つまり自分なりに考えて、それから respond する人は、もうあまりいない。

  3. shinichi says:

    ここで怒るかそれとも笑うか、それって実は自分次第。

    部下のさぼりに泰然自若、不況にストレスフリーの心理学

    by 鈴木義幸

    https://business.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/manage/20090831/203802/

     精神科医にして心理学者で、『夜と霧』という著書でも有名なヴィクトール・E・フランクルは、第二次大戦中、アウシュビッツの収容所に捕虜としてとらえられた経験があります。

     言葉では語り尽くせぬほど過酷な環境の中で、彼は考えます。自分は人類の誰も経験したことのない壮大な心理実験の渦中にある。いつかこの収容所を出て、いま自分が体験していることを、オーストリアの大学の教壇に立ち、後世の人々に伝えていこう。どれだけ外側の自由を剥奪されたとしても、内側の自由を奪うことは何人にも決してできないということを。それが紛れもない事実であることを今まさに自分は証明しようとしている、と。

     その彼が遺した言葉があります。

     Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
    (刺激と反応の間には、いくばくかの「間」が存在する。私たちはこの「間」の中で、自分の反応を選択する。私たちの成長と自由は、私たちが選ぶ反応にかかっているのだ)

     つまり、刺激が直接、反応を引き起こすわけではない、とフランクルは言っているわけです。アウシュビッツという“刺激”も自動的に「苦しい」「つらい」「悲しい」という“反応”を引き出すわけではなく、刺激と反応の間にはスペースがあり、そのスペースの中で、どのような反応をするのかは全て個人が選ぶことができる、と。そして、どのような反応を選べるかがまさにその人の精神的なレベルを表象している、と。

     このフランクルの言葉は私の好きな文言のひとつです。リーダーはこのことを強く心に刻むべきだと思っています。刺激は直接、反応を引き出さない。絶対に。

    人は「刺激→反応」で考えがち

     ところが、ふだん私たちは、刺激と反応をダイレクトに結び付けようとします。

     例えば、「社員がもう少し自分から進んで動いてくれれば、こんなにいらついたりはしないんだけど」という言葉にあるのは、自ら動こうとしない社員という刺激が、いらつくという反応をもたらしたということ。

     「経済環境が悪いと、精神的にもまいるよな」は、経済環境の悪化という刺激が、精神的にまいるという反応をもたらしたということ。

     同様に、次のような心の言葉も、刺激と反応を“原因結果的に”結びつけようとする例です。

     ・「どうも大勢の人の前で話すのは緊張する」
      大勢の人の目(刺激)→緊張する(反応)

     ・「締め切りに迫られると、焦っていいアイディアが浮かばない」
      締め切りが迫る(刺激)→焦る(反応)

     ・「朝一番のティーショットは、肩に力が入る」
      朝一番のティーショット(刺激)→肩に力が入る(反応)

     その刺激がまさに自分の反応を引き起こしている。刺激と反応には自動的な因果関係があると捉えるわけです。

     でも、本当にそうでしょうか。

    指を「パチン!」で悲しみが楽しみに

     何度言っても自ら動かない社員を目の前にして、いらつく上司もいれば、まったくいらつかずに泰然と受け止められる上司もいます。

     その社員に対してどう行動するか、どのような対策をとるかは次の話。まず、いらつくかいらつかないかは自分で選ぶことができます。

     つまり、自ら動かない社員はいらつきの“きっかけ”にはなっているでしょうが、そのきっかけを使って、いらつくという状態を作っているのはまさに自分自身なのです。

     ネイティブアメリカンには、まさに自分の反応を選択するということを伝統にしている部族がいます。

     例えば、仲間が亡くなるなどの悲しいできごとが起きる。しばらくは悲しみに暮れる。しかし、悲しい状態がしばらく続いた後に、「もういい、これで悲しむのは終わりにしよう。少なくとも今日は」と考える。そして、合図として指を「パチン!」と鳴らす。すると、彼らは悲しい状態を脱して、楽しい状態に入る。

     この部族は、反応はどんなときでも自分で選択することができるということを、親から子へ、子から孫へと代々伝えているのだと聞いたことがあります。

    コントロールすべきは相手ではない

     エグゼクティブコーチングをしていて、「社員が動かないからいらつく」といった因果関係をクライアントが言葉にされたときは、かならず聞きます。「どうやって、そのいらつきを作り出しているのですか」と。

     最初はきょとんとした顔をされます。「何度言っても自分から動かないんだから、そりゃいらつきもするよね」。

     そこで、フランクルの話をしたり、ネイティブアメリカンの話をしたりして、その因果関係にいかに根拠がないことを頭で理解していただくようにします。

     極めつきは、「もし、相手の動きがあなたの感情を直接引き起こしているとすると、あなたは相手の影響下にあることになります。今後もずっと影響され続けるんですか」という質問です。そして、こう申しあげる。

    「相手をコントロールすることは難しいし、それを目指すことは決して得策ではないと思います。でも、自分をコントロールできるようにはなります。相手がどんなに自発性がなくても、泰然たる状態を保つ。そのほうが、最終的にはこちらの頭も働くでしょうし、相手に対してよい働きかけができるでしょう。まずコントロールすべきなのは、相手ではなく、自分自身です」

     そして、また聞きます。「どんな風にいらつきを作り出していますか」。

    反応は自分の判断によるもの

     これを読まれているみなさんは、思ったように部下が動かないとき、自分の仕事がなかなかはかどらないとき、家族が自分の期待通りに振る舞ってくれないとき、どんな風にして自分の中にいらつきを作っていますか。その表出パターンやプロセスを考えたことはありますか。

     一例ですが、私がコーチとして出会ったきた会社役員の中には、次のような反応が表れ出る方がいました。

    1.自分の視野を狭くする。
    それまでは、穏やかな眼で全体を俯瞰していたのが、相手の顔、とくに眼だけに焦点を当てる。ちょうどレーダーが対象物を捉える「ロックオン」の状態のように。

    2.重心を高くする。
    ゆったり呼吸をして、どーんと構えていた状態から、急に呼吸が浅くなり、体の重心を胸のあたりに移動させます。

    3.頭の中でネガティブな台詞を吐く。
    「またかよ」「いい加減にしろよ」「何度言ったらわかるんだ」。

     これらは、この方と直接コミュニケーションをとったり、行動を拝見したりする中で見えてきたものです。いらつくときは、決まりごとのように1~3を繰り返します。これが、この方の“いらつきのレシピ”なわけです。

    。。。

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