On the original Star Trek television series, Spock would regularly respond to unpleasant or surprising circumstances with a one-word response: “Fascinating.”

Instead of judging or taking something personally or lashing out emotionally, he sought to understand.

What a healthy way to manage your responses. We all have the ability to choose our response in any circumstance. But I know I often default to an automatic, self-centered reaction instead, as if everything is all about me and as if I have no control over my feelings. And I feel like I’ve been more prone to emotional, knee-jerk reactions recently. I’m rapidly approaching 50. I should be getting wiser and more disciplined, right? (I should be fascinated rather than disturbed by that.)

Imagine, though, using the gap between stimulus and response to choose to be curious.

To ask, “I wonder why…?”, will completely reframe your response to something that otherwise might cause anger or frustration.

Next time I get cut off in traffic or receive bad news or deal with a difficult person, I’m going to give my inner Vulcan a try and get curious rather than getting mad.

“Men are disturbed not by the things that happen, but by their opinion of the things that happen.” -Epictetus

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