Are you acting REFLEXIVELY or REFLECTIVELY? Consider this scenario: You are at home and the telephone rings. You answer it. Assume for a moment that you are NOT familiar with
choice-response thinking (something discussed at length in various blog posts). If I were to query you why you answered the phone, most would say, in one way or another, that the phone was a stimulus and answering it was the response.
Now, let’s assume that you are at home watching a television program that you had been looking forward to seeing. You are totally engaged in a dramatic scene and the phone rings. Would you disrupt your involvement in the program to answer it?
In this situation, some people would answer the phone, perhaps because they would have acted REFLEXIVELY. Others would let the telephone answering device record the message for them to check the message later. The latter group would have acted REFLECTIVELY.
Answering a phone is a voluntary act. No one forces people to react one way or another to the ringing of a telephone. In essence, the ringing of the phone is simply information.
In the example above, a CHOICE was made to answer or not to answer when the ring was heard. Therefore, it’s important to understand that with any situation, or stimulation, or urge, humans have the ability to make a choice, either reflexively or reflectively. The stimulus DOES NOT CAUSE the response. In the situation with the telephone or stopping at a red light, the stimulus is simply information that one chooses or does not choose to act on.
The problem arises only when, by extrapolation, we assume that the phone or a red light CAUSED the action. This psychology of “stimulus-response” is believed by many as the way to control or influence others. But to borrow from Stephen R. Covey, the “jackass” approach of the carrot and stick is a poor way to deal with humans.