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Excerpts from
Changing Your Stripes


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The Division of Response-Ability

How we respond to accident or abuse IS the result of an “inner decision.” This is not just a good-sounding theory, but what Viktor Frankl learned from his suffering in Nazi death camps. Frankl maintains that to make this "inner decision" is mankind's “final freedom.” — no matter how tragic or terrible, no circumstance can keep us from the freedom Frankl terms: Inner Liberty.

It's not What Happens to you in Life, but how
You Respond to “What Happens” that matters most;
oppressive people may compel your flesh, but no power
on earth can force you from Inner Liberty—
it is yours to lose or keep.

In life, the color and character of your responses are all important. The way that you react to hardship is a reflection of who you are from your core — your reactions reveal depth of heart and soul. Learning to respond well to life's most challenging moments leads to contented living. Who You Are from the heart defines whether poisoned or positive emotions will flow from you in a pressing moment. For this reason, Changing Your Stripes is a project of vital importance!

Here's the intrinsic trap you're in: The very condition of your disposition is self-perpetuating; you tend to reinforce who you are today . . . because who you are today IS the one doing the thinking, perceiving, responding, and choosing! This is why people behave in consistent patterns of habit. How can a person possibly think fresh new thoughts using a stale old mindset?

You Can't Change your Mind, using the Same Mind that needs Changing.
(see Einstein's Mind Bind, page 175) 

How can you possibly choose compassionate responses if your disposition is not presently compassionate? Breaking out of this self-perpetuating bind requires that you become a new creature from your core! The kind of creature that can be calm, patient, and compassionate even amid situations of mistreatment or abuse.

If you want to know what you're made of
watch what comes out of you under pressure!
When Life squeezes you with trials and troubles,
How you respond reveals the core of your character.

You are the author of all your responses: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Embracing this principle is empowering, for if you are the ultimate author of your thoughts, behaviors, motives, and emotions, then you possess the final veto vote. Those who do not seize their Response-Ability, will eventually get stuck telling stale stories of justification and blaming others or circumstance for their victimhood.

Becoming a new kind of creature who can consistently
keep Inner Liberty is enhanced by understanding
 The Division of Response-Ability:
 

If it Comes Out of You . . . it is Yours

 OFFENSIVE                                            OFFENDED

While offensive behavior may necessarily Capture your
Attention, the insulting actions of others cannot
Cause the Character of your Response.

Who's to Blame? In response to the accusing query, “Who's to Blame?” . . . I've got two words: Wrong Question! When you ask a wrong question, . . . you will get a wrong answer! I recall a client who tried to put a percentage to blame he bore for creating his marital mire; he figured his contribution was about 66%.

Dividing blame between relational combatants by percentage — 70-30 or 60-40, etc. — doesn’t practically improve anything. Such thinking plays into an excuse-making mentality: “I may be bad, but at least I'm not THAT bad!”

The best question to ask is: Who's Response-Able? And the answer to this question is: Everyone! Everyone is Able to Respond according to their God-given free will; hence, everyone is personally Response-Able for the stuff they create—including all thoughts, behaviors, motives, and emotions coming out of them.

Instead of dividing blame between the two interacting parties, all human beings get to own 100% of ALL the problem-making and problem-perpetuating that comes out of them! Whatever that is: however each person’s mess . . . manifests — be it a little or a lot, be it bad or good. Whether YOU are the larger or smaller offender, YOUR way out of every tangle is to own everything that comes out of you.

The irritating behavior of others
presents a Constraint to which you respond.
and while that bothersome behavior may necessarily capture
your Attention, the obnoxious actions of others cannot cause
the particular style or character of your Response.

Owning Everything means owning all offensive-ness of course — this is the obvious conclusion. But Owning Everything that comes out of you also means something less obvious: Owning All your Response-Ability means . . . Owning All Offended-ness, too! David A. Bednar said this about being offended.

Certainly clumsy, embarrassing, unprincipled, and mean spirited things
do occur in our interactions with other people that would tempt us to take offense.
However, ultimately it is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me.
Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false.
To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted
or imposed upon us by someone or something else.

In the Changing Your Stripes paradigm, we learn that Being Offended is just as offensive as Being Offensive. Being Offended is simply the response end of bad behavior, while Being Offensive is the constraint end of bad behavior.

Average thinking on this issue maintains that the bad behavior that happened first is . . . “badder.” One can get tangled into a dead end debate: The offended person will argue, “but if you had not done this, then I never would have done that!” Getting trapped in this logical conundrum lead you nowhere!

Because Life is a Set Up, you could sing the “I'm-offended-by-your-offensiveness” song for the rest of your life. And if you are tempted to get stuck in the “but-they-did-it-to-me-first” excuse, then you might as well invoke the ultimate alibi: “but if Mom hadn't given birth to me, then I wouldn't have . . . yada yada yada.”

With this lousy line of logic, you could blame your parents for every bad thing you’ve done since birth. It is a fact that IF your parent had not brought you into the world, THEN you would not have done anything bad — but you would not have done anything good either. You just wouldn't have done anything . . . PERIOD.

So, the hard-wired realities of this world ARE that you were born and that Life IS a Set Up, and the sooner you get used to it, get over it, and get on with it . . . the sooner you'll be Changing Your Stripes and responding in the productive patterns of the new creature you are becoming!

“Life is a Set Up” means that you live in a world of ever-pressing Constraints.
Learning to own and hone your Ability to Respond well is at the apex of Life's purpose.
When you fully embrace this aim of excellence, each pressing constraint is
viewed as a Test and a Teacher, . . . instead of just a Tormentor.

(Changing Your Stripes, p. 16-19)

* * * * * * *

The Greatest Prize
for Life's labors isn't
in material possessions
or impressive accomplishments,
but in the progress of personal character.
You labor for your own becoming, this is your richest reward.
Who You Become is your greatest possession,
make it your Masterpiece!

(Changing Your Stripes, 2nd Edition, page 274)
.

The book, "Changing Your Stripes" presents principles for getting out of
the ditch in which you've been dumped (the difficulties of which you are a victim), and
the ditch in which you've jumped (the difficulties for which you volunteer).

"Mastering a challenging situation
is ultimately a matter of
mastering yourself!"

- Matt Moody 

"Changing Your Stripes," teaches you the principles that lead to lasting change,
making you a new kind of creature capable of communicating
with calm, even as storms of contention swirl.

If these ideas resonate and ring true,
then . . . this book is for you!


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and solve all of
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Changing Your Stripes


Social Psychologist & Personal Advisor
 

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