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Stimulus-Response (S-R) Thinking

STPHFR 6 Steps of Feeling & Acting

STPHFR Thinking Is Better than S-R Thinking

The Secret of Maturity, Third Edition for 99¢ will teach you how to own the power of emotional responsibility.

Note on This Page

  • This page assumes you are familiar with the STPHFR paradigm: STPHFR.


  • S-R thinking is only applicable to dead things.
  • S-R thinking is in error when applied to living things.
  • Most of the difficulty that occurs in human relations occurs because of S-R thinking.
  • S-R thinking is the basis of emotional immaturity.
  • S-R thinking is the foundation of whining, blaming, and damning.
  • S-R thinking occurs when you blame the S, stimulus, for your R, response, to S.


  • Boredom is a good example of the problem of applying S-R thinking to people.
  • The bored typically blame the situation for their boring response to it.

However, feeling bored is a mental state and as such is caused by the mind, by your thinking. The situation or event that you are blaming for your “being” bored is not itself a mental state. The situation or event is actually neutral. It is only your interpretation of the event that makes the event to appear to be either negative or positive.

  • No event is a mental state.
  • No event causes mental states.
  • Humans choose mental states by habit or conscious living.

Related Information


Organized Alphabetically

“A baby expects to be soothed, but a mature adult soothes themselves.”–Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.”–Marcus Seneca

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.”–Francis Bacon

“Accuse not Nature, she hath done her part; Do thou but thine.”–John Milton, Paradise Lost

“Adults are expert at self-disturbance and inept at self-soothing.”–Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“An excuse is a lie guarded.”–Jonathan Swift

“Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?”–Anonymous

“But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”–Galatians 6:4

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”–Mark Twain

“Each man the architect of his own fate.”–Sallust

“Either do not attempt at all, or go through with it.”–Ovid

“Every man without passions has within him no principle of action, nor motive to act.”–Claude Helvetius

“Great works are performed not by strength, but by perseverance.”–Samuel Johnson

“I am happy and content because I think I am.”–Alain-Rene Lesage

“I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”–W. E. Henley, Invictus

“If pleasure first, then pain second.”–Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“If we have not peace within ourselves, it is in vain to seek it from outward sources.”–Francois de La Rochefoucauld

“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.”–Agnes Repplier

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”–William Shakespeare

“Luck is where preparation meets opportunity.”–Anonymous

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”–Jean-Paul Sartre, 1905-1980

“Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will–his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.”–Albert Schweitzer

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”–Abraham Lincoln

“My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”–Oprah Winfrey

“No one has ever gotten to anyone.”–Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat.”–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“Nothing stops the man who desires to achieve. Every obstacle is simply a course to develop his achievement muscle. It’s a strengthening of his powers of accomplishment.”–Eric Butterworth

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”–Michael Jordan

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”–Anonymous

“Some pursue happiness, others create it.”–Anonymous

“Teaching the principle of emotional responsibility can be one of the hardest tasks in REBT as clients may have habitually blamed others for their problems and now the therapist is pointing to the true source of their emotional problems–themselves.”–Michael Neenan and Windy Dryden, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: Advances in Theory and Practice, p. 43

“The ability to accept responsibility is the measure of the man.”–Roy Smith

“The fault, Dear Brutus, is not in our stars; but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”–William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

“The journey of life is inward not outward.”–Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“The more you are willing to accept responsibility for your actions, the more credibility you will have.”–Brian Koslow

“The only disability in life is a bad attitude.”–Scott Hamilton

“The U. S. Constitution doesn’t guarantee happiness, only the pursuit of it. You have to catch up with it yourself.”–Benjamin Franklin

“The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life is the source from which self-respect springs.”–Joan Didion

“There is no man so low that the cure for his condition does not lie strictly within himself.”–Thomas L. Masson

“To a large extent I can control my feelings and desires and can change them so that I lead a happier existence.”–Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 247

“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”–Carlos Castenada

“What poison is to food, self-pity is to life.”–Oliver C. Wilson

“Whatever may be, I am still largely the creator and ruler of my emotional destiny.”–Albert Ellis and Robert A. Harper, A Guide to Rational Living, Third Edition, p. 252

“While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.”–Helen Keller

“Why is it that people are willing to take responsibility for their happiness or mild sadness but not their severe disturbance or great unhappiness?–why ego of course!”–Kevin Everett FitzMaurice