Updated: May 31, 2020

Has SPACE Ever Been More Important?

Not Just For Social-Distancing & Shielding But For Self-Care!

A few days ago I shared the principle behind E + R= O, which as a reminder stands for Event + Response= Outcome, where we have no control over the event, but 100% control over our response, which in term dictates the outcome. We are able to CHOOSE our response and therefore are ultimately responsible for the outcome. Many people have messaged me asking if I can share any tips or tools on having a greater control on our response. There are a few that I am delighted to share. If you want some real detail on this stuff, please get the book or audio book THE CHIMP PARADOX by Doctor Steve Peters.

Tip 1: Read or listen to the book – I know people who have bought loads of “Self –Help/Make yourself better books” and have never even read or listened to them! Buying them is the EASY bit. Read/listen to the book, make notes/use a highlighter, reflect, and write down some actions and then TAKE THE ACTION!


Creating a better response can often be achieved if you follow the

STIMULUS-SPACE-RESPONSE model. The stimulus is the event that could trigger off either a reaction or a response. You have a Choice! What’s the difference between the two? For me, a reaction occurs without thinking, as the event triggers off our fight, flight or freeze way of dealing with the event with NO thought as to the impact or consequences of that reaction. You have seen it lots of time before at Airports where there’s always someone screaming at the check in attendant because a flight has been cancelled. Road rage is another example. At work, how many of us have reacted to an e-mail and wished really quickly, that we shouldn’t have sent such a poor response. Too late damage is done!!

What’s the “secret”? SPACE of course. SPACE between the STIMULUS and the RESPONSE. Time to think! Time to think about the outcome your chosen response will have on others and the situation. Remember as a child you were told to count to 10, or in your first leadership role, your boss advised that you “sleep on it”. Great advice to give you time to think. Why do you think the ‘Drafts” box was invented for e-mails? So you could write your reactive e-mail, but save it in drafts, review it later and send it only after you have had time to THINK! I often create time by mind mapping. Another great tool is to ask questions and seek more information. A great question to ask is “What makes you say that”


In the current environment, I would ask everyone to follow the STIMULUS-SPACE-RESPONSE model. The STIMULUS may be sunshine and our natural urge to hit the seaside, but please give yourself SPACE and THINK about what that may mean for others. Our greatest responsibility is not to take actions intended or unintended that could result in someone else being really poorly or dying. Choose your response. Think and stay socially distant, don’t panic buy and help others that are key workers or vulnerable.

Be Safe!

Chris Brindley MBE

Trustee, Switch The Play Foundation


About Switch The Play Foundation

They support sportspeople with preparing for life outside of sport. Whether they are at the start of a talent pathway or retired from sport, their training and development programmes are designed to set sportspeople up for success both within and outside of sport. They work with individuals, clubs, governing bodies, parents and organisations involved in the world of talent and performance sport. Click the logo below to find out more:

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