How is your response ability?

Person writing in nature. Photo by viki2win via

In today’s article, we will take a look at how Osho and Jack Canfield interpret that concept of “response ability”.

The way you respond to events, internal and external, shape your destiny; not the events themselves. We often talked about how it is not the event that creates the response, but how we interpret the event or as Epictetus puts it, our “opinion” that determines everything. If the event was indeed the culprit, we would all react the same way to everything, which of course, is false.

Osho, in “The book of understanding” writes:

“The word “responsibility” has been used the wrong way. It gives a feeling of burden. You have to do it, it is a duty; if you don’t do it you will feel guilty. I want to remind you that the word “responsibility” has none of these connotations. Break the word in two — response-ability — and you enter a totally different meaning of the word, a different direction… Response-Ability simply means spontaneous response. Whatever situation arises, joyously respond to it, with your totality, with your intensity. And the response will not only change the situation, it will change you.”

So now, ask yourself. How is your responsibility?

Remember how we talked about the fact that you are what you consistently do? And that basically your identity equals your daily habits? Well, the way you respond to events, whether they are positive or challenging, is what defines your true character.

Are you a victim or do you have ownership over your life?

Let’s look at a more modern approach, with Jack Canfield from his book “The success principles”. He writes:

“It is time to stop looking outside yourself for the answers to why you haven’t created the life and results you want, for it is you who creates the quality of the life you lead and the results you produce. You — no one else! To achieve major success in life — to achieve those things that are most important to you — you must assume 100% responsibility for your life. Nothing less will do.”

How does it feel, inside of you, to read this passage? Does it resonate with you? Is your response-ability something you should really be working on?

It still is for me!

So next time you are facing a challenge, remember Canfield’s equation.

E+R= O (Event + Response = Outcome).

Let’s move on to a few exercises to put that wisdom into practice. Please take out your journal, and reflect on this:

In your opinion, from 0 being a complete victim to 10 being in complete ownership of your life, how would you rate your response-ability?

Take a look at that number.

Now write this: How can you make it better?

To finish, let’s do a second exercise that comes from Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book “The How of Happiness”. Sonja is literally a happiness scientist. She offers this exercise:

“Write down your barrier thoughts, and then consider ways to reinterpret the situation. In the process, ask yourself questions like… What else could this situation or experience mean? Can anything good come from it? Does it present any opportunities for me? What lessons can I learn and apply to the future? Did I develop any strengths as a result?”

Remember, that our aim is to live a good life, with a good soul, at our true potential. For that, reading and learning is great, but doing is essential.

Practice your meditations, contemplations and writing exercises daily.



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Raphaël Reiter

Raphaël Reiter

Continuously learning about life. Passionate about philosophy. Certified life coach and meditation teacher.