Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose. Being proactive is to act based on principles and values rather than reacting based on emotion or circumstances. The ability to do that comes from the development and use of four unique human gifts.
- Self-awareness: our ability to stand apart from our own lives and become aware of our actions and thoughts. We can then step in to make changes and improvements.
- Conscience: a deep inner awareness of right and wrong. For me, it is leading of the Holy Spirit.
- Imagination: our ability to create in our minds beyond our present reality and envision a better response.
- Independent will: the power to take action.
These four gifts — self-awareness, conscience, imagination, and independent will — reside in the space we have between what happens to us and our response to it. The extent to which we exercise and develop these human gifts empower us to fulfill our potential.
An excerpt from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People