“In any given moment we have two options, to step forward in growth or to step back into safety.” Abraham Maslow.
This quote by the famous psychologist Abraham Maslow who fathered the field of positive psychology and created the very well-known hierarchy of needs. Is an extremely profound quote that I think each person can apply into their lives in some way or another.
What he is essentially saying here is that whenever you are faced with a difficult decision or find yourself about to fall into an old habit, you have the option to either step forward into growth or step back into what is safe and what is easy.
You see each and every day we are faced with an endless amount of choices. Every moment is made up of one choice after another and each and every aspect of our lives including our circumstances is effected by the way we choose to perceive them. Inspirational and motivational speaker Wayne Dyer once said “Attitude is everything so pick a good one”.
We all have the power to choose our attitudes towards something and often times an attitude change is all that is needed. With something as simple as an attitude change you can dramatically transform any situation, task or circumstance.
Changing one’s attitude is but one example of the power of choice that each of us has. One of the greatest examples of the power of choice comes from a man named Victor Frankl who wrote the incredible novel “Man’s search for meaning” which chronicles his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp and how he was able to survive the ordeals through the power of choice.
One of the greatest lines from the book is this “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Victor Frankl endured horrendous conditions beyond anything most people could even imagine, but instead of letting it break him.
Victor Frankl instead chose to use it as a way to grow, to learn and ultimately to teach and inspire others, through both his book and his eventual creation of logotherapy which aims to help individuals to find meaning in their lives.
Another quote from his book that sums up Victor Frankl’s profound depth of understanding of the power of choice is 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.”
We all go through difficult times in our lives, they are an inevitable part of life. But ultimately it is our choice as to how we choose to perceive these difficulties. I honestly believe from my own experiences that everything in life, especially the difficult times, are an opportunity for growth. So whatever circumstances you may be facing right now, know that you have the innate power within you to choose your response.
You can either choose to allow your current circumstances to bring you down, or you may use them as opportunity to learn and to grow. You always have the choice.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”