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The Third Door Challenge (are you game?)

Last month I was sent a link to an article  that I  have repeatably returned to in my mind – a sure sign that contained within it is a fundamental teaching that if grasped – could change one’s life experience.

Arthur Rosenfeld, novelist, philosopher, and martial arts teacher,  wrote about a time when a man behind him in a Starbucks Drive thru triggered within him a strong emotional response (anger) and he was faced with a decision on how to react.

Arthur goes on to share that whenever our buttons are pushed we always have three choices….

  • Door Number 1: To push back
  • Door Number 2: To cower and give in
  • Door Number 3: ???

Door Number 3 is different every time and the trick, Arthur states, is to figure out what’s behind Door Number 3.

After reading this article I got to thinking – what if  we lived our lives by continuously opening that 3rd door whenever a life event triggered us.  But how?

I played with it awhile and discovered that- at least as a start – all I had to do when triggered was remember to ask the question – “What’s the 3rd Door?” and then breath deep and respond accordingly.

With 2 Preteen daughters in the house I am forever given lots of opportunities to practice  :)

So here’s the challenge – pick a 24 hour period (beginning now perhaps?) and set the intention that whenever someone or something triggers you in any way you will, before responding, ask your self…

“What’s Behind the 3rd Door?”

And then breath deep and wait a few seconds before taking (or not taking) action.

Just for 24 hours.

And then come back and tell us what happened.

In appreciation for your sharing we will randomly select some of the stories  and award a prize – a little motivation to get you started (though I expect that once you begin to open the 3rd Door you will find motivation enough to keep it open :)   )

To read Arthur’s tale and watch the News Story that accompanied it visit:

Pay it Backwards

Stay Open, Allow Creativity, and Have some Fun…

Sending Joy

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14 Responses to “The Third Door Challenge (are you game?)”

  1. Ali Jibran says:

    A beautiful and simple learning that has been written in the article. What I have been practicing and admiring in my personal life is a similar but effective method that i learned years ago through some book, called “12 What else?”. In this way, if triggered with anger, you have to think at least 12 reasons, why that person behaved arrogant with you.? Surprisingly you never reach figure 12, rather with practice either you know a valid reason quite earlier or you already forgive them.(of course forgiving is most powerful)
    Anyway the 3rd Door method is wonderful and easier.

    Thanks sharing
    Love,Peace & Happiness

    Ali – thanks so much for sharing I had never heard of the 12 What Else Technique before. Please check your email for a gift from us – just to show our appreciation…

    With Joy

    Cyndi

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  2. Patti Rushton says:

    I had to laugh when I read the challenge this morning since without remembering where I had adopted this concept I had used it on several occasions with amazing results I always laugh as I walk away from that anger!Example: I rarely watch TV but had tuned in to American Idol just to see how these young women were doing. And the reason I don’t watch TV is because it generally makes me angry, just crazy stuff, commercials, just not my thing. So the news comes on after the Idol show and not 3 minutes into the news a story came on that makes me very angry! What is behind the third door? I said out loud, I have a choice and I don’t want to feel angry so I can simply shut off the TV. It was simple, there was nothing I can physically do about the story on the news so why would I want it to affect my great mood. Once again I began to laugh!!!

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  3. Margot says:

    Thank you for sharing.
    As a parent and doing business in my industry your simple suggestion has been my stress release for the last five years. My children make fun of me, my husband doesn’t understand why don’t I just lose my temper. I explain once we say cruel or unkind words we can’t take those back, especially with teenagers in the house; their sensitivity is magnified like a million times. So its easier to breathe and pray for guidance, or take a walk. My purpose is to teach my children reacting without thought, compassion and understanding serves no-one including their selves. In Business everyone can make a mistake, and life goes on. There are time zone differences, all over the world; whats more important lines of communication are open.
    I explain to my children we must speak words of love over ourselves and others. Yes, of course their are boundaries and crossing over boundaries result in consequences, and for every action or inaction creates a consequence.

    Thank you and warmest regards

    Margot

    Hi Margot – my girls laugh at me too – and I smile back convinced that somehow somewhere the message will get through anyway. Thanks for taking the time to share – please check your email for a gift to show our appreciation

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  4. min says:

    I usually take step number 2. Time to change.

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  5. Hi.
    Thank-you for this inspiring article and for the link to Arthur’s original article. I love the idea of using the third door question and thinking about operating from acts of conscious. It is a beautiful way to transition from reacting to responding to what life brings us. I am going to take the 24 hour challenge and see what happens.
    Thanks again,
    Debbie

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  6. Leila says:

    The third way for me usually involves taking a step backwards to reflect on what I’m feeling and why. The guy at the Starbucks didn’t feel he had the time to reflect – for him it was either fight or flight. My son reckons he could have just driven on without reacting in either way. I think the reaction he had was superior but it’s hard to put a finger on why that is. Maybe having positive intent EVEN when the odds are against you is a true measure of the power of your positivity.

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  7. Christy says:

    I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder four years ago. I can honestly say that your three doors have been the very cornerstone of my day to day experience and the very keys to recovery.
    With trauma -door two is opened for you unconsciously. I had no control -the mind and body reacted with overwhelm. Numbness. You fight ghosts that you can’t see. The mind will simultaneously open door 1 and door 2. Anger, revenge, exhaustion, depression then back in the corner.

    You want door number 3 but can’t find the key. You search.

    Others will try and open door number three for you. Doctors with their anti-depressants. This door leads to beige world – The whole world was beige including all the doors. Cannot distinguish the doors from the walls.

    I found the key to door number one- deep within my soul. Tossed out the magic pills to beige world, totally the wrong door for me. Well meaning people will try to convince you that THEIR door number three is the way. Door Number One was crucial at this stage.

    I was now Alice in Wonderland, Door 3 was opened by closing door two, then door one, no need to push anymore. I found door number three. I trusted it. Ta Da… creative world. I found a world full of colour and light and flowers. Each day I still look down at my three keys. Some days I use door one. I nailed door number two shut – The entrance to beige world- been there, done that and you can kiss that shit goodbye.

    What’s behind door number three? A thousand different doors. Trust, forgiveness, inspiration, creativity. Magic!

    How do I react to the negative chick at the supermarket or at Starbucks? Door number 52 via door three. Give a sincere compliment to get them out of beige world.

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  8. Theo says:

    As an undergrad one of my professors put it to the class that “there are always three solutions to a problem. The…third solution is often hardest to find.” I often used those sentiments with participants in my Job Search & Life-Skills workshop with the caveat believe the correct answer will come. The three doors concept is a tad less abstract than the professor’s and I’ll use it in future workshops.

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  9. min says:

    Loved it. I tried it with a friend who usually makes unpleasant comments. This time I did not forfit, I joked around and did not allow her to go further.
    Must practise more. Thank you.

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  10. Louise says:

    I found this 3rd door challenge very intriguing! The opportunity to try it presented itself like magic. My neighbour was out on his property driving around on his tractor and slashing his paddocks. This sent me into an absolute rage inside, its like I just snapped. I have no idea why – after all he is only mowing his paddocks, not bothering me! I stormed around for a while with smoke coming out my ears. Then I remembered the third door and went about my day waiting and observing myself for 24 hours. Immediately I chose the third door I calmed, was able to go about the rest of my day fairly well. Then the ‘observer’ kicked in and I remembered a time a few months ago when I asked him to mow my paddocks and I would pay him, he said he would but never did. That was why I was angry – I thought he thought my money was’nt good enough! The third door helped me remember something I had long forgotten but was still holding onto. Watching it from the outside the whole thing looked ridiculous- how could I have drawn that conclusion about my neighbour -fascinating stuff!. I thank that third door very much for allowing me time to gain perspective and choose to respond not react to my emotions. Goodness knows what I would have said or done to the neighbour!

    and we thank you – Louise – for this great example of the 3rd Door in action. Please check your email for a gift of appreciation from us.

    Sending Joy
    Cyndi

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  11. Cecelia says:

    This is a great article! The concept of door number 3 is a fantastic way to approach what we all need to do: be more compassionate with ourselves and others, receive our gifts and grow.

    Instead of separating ourselves from others, we need to connect. We are all in this together, and we are all going through a deep and very painful time of growing pangs.

    Typically when a Starbuck’s scenario comes our way; it’s for a reason. Our energy vibrations attracted it; whether we want to admit it or not. We were sent a messenger bearing a gift and an opportunity. The gift helps us grow; and the opportunity to spread compassion. Door number 3 allows us to receive this gift. Door’s 1 and 2 are lower levels of vibration, that are conditioned responses of rejection and hurt.

    I found that door number three, can often times present the opportunity to grow and “BE” instead of do. This means that instead of saying that we are going to “do” this, or “do” that (conditioned responses and stagnancy)…we set ourselves up for self-sabotage. However, when we say we’d like to “be” a better person it presents a totally new way of approaching life. (this represents growing and opportunity)

    Opportunities are all around us, we just need to recognize them :)

    Once we make the commitment to “be,” we release the pressure and expectations from ourselves and others, which equals room for growth. When release into the moment and we relax…it allows us to receive our gifts.

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  12. Carol says:

    Thanks for the great reminder about always having choices. The beautiful way it is put, makes it simple to think before speaking or reacting and achieve the results you desire. I plan to incorporate it in my life always.
    Thanks.

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  13. Margaret says:

    My answer has always been to “Ignore” and go about my day. The 3rd door way is better because you are giving yourself a Treat. Sometimes we can’t always afford to do what this gentleman did, but I’m sure, with some thought we can think of something. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

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  14. Deborah says:

    My husband and I own a small business and have been arguing over an employee. The last time we argued, I used the third door method. He expected me to push back as I usually would, but the third door gave me the option to state what I wanted to happen instead of getting angry. It worked.

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