A legend and role model in my world, Nelson Mandela ([1]), left us a legacy, a deep understanding of the choice and freedom that we have each and every day of our lives. He said “your freedom in life lies in the gap between stimulus and response”. When we listened to him talk we notice that he spoke with a distinctive deep tone, and yet what he said was slow yet impactful. People listened to what he said, perhaps because of having spent some 27 years in jail, yet I believe it is because he weighed up how he responded. Like you and me he felt the impact of external events, yet he knew that he had a choice, and he lived that choice. It was his choice to respond that he made each and every day, which set him apart and made him the great man that he became. It is our choice and it is your choice, the choice to respond. When we look at this model for a moment and recognise that when we tap into the power of choice, we truly tap into the power of the universe.
When we look at the model above we can see that our freedom lies between stimulus (cause) and response (effect). We can react, and move into effect, or we can choose to respond, and move back to cause, the choice is ours. When someone annoys you, or cuts in front of you driving often you react with some feisty words like “idiot” or “bastard” or worse, expressing our outrage, and the sad reality there is only one person truly listening to you, and that person is you. What we are invited to do is to pause for a moment, think of how we would like to respond rather than react and then express ourselves. For example a performance clown I knew used to respond with the words “silly sausage” in a high pitch tone and even he started to laugh at the way he said it.
When we model Mandela, we notice that his speech was slightly slower, his response was thought out and he deliberated over each word before choosing to respond. This is what made him the great man that he was, leaving behind a remarkable model and legacy. It was his consistent
commitment and choice to respond rather than to react. And it up to us to carry that light forward into the world, giving ourselves and others permission to shine (through taking action). So in what ways can we make an active decision to respond, rather than react? In how many ways can we choose to move back to cause from effect?


Nelson Mandela was the former president in South Africa, and achieved the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, for his work in the transformation of South Africa into a new democratic country in 1994 (The Nobel Peace Prize 1993, 2014) and was modelled by NLP Master Tyrrell Fairhead in his book The Madiba Mindset (Fairhead, 2011)
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