Well this is a bit of a flash back to year 10 mathematics and to be honest, algebra was never one of my favourite things. In case you feel similarly to me about algebra, I ask that you hang in there.
This equation, when applied well, can change your life!
Yep, dead-set change your life.
I was reminded of this simple equation in a book that I have been reading, The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield.
What it stands for is the EVENT + your RESPONSE will = the OUTCOME. Simple, elegant and oh so true!!
Let me give you an example. You arrive at the shopping centre and the car park is full. You spot someone pulling out of their car space and pop your indicator on, signalling that the space is yours. The person backs their car out and as they straighten their car up to drive away, another car ducks in behind them and grabs YOUR space. This is the Event.
So how do you respond? You put the park brake on and jump out of your car – this is unacceptable! You march over to the parked vehicle and bang on the window. The driver, who is staring down at their phone, looks up with a start. She opens her window and you go to town: “What the hell are you thinking!! How could you not see that I was sitting there waiting!! You took my spot you idiot, I hope you have a crappy day!”. This is the Response.
You storm back to your car, get in, pacify the children in the back seat and when you look up, there is the other driver, looming over your bonnet. She starts to yell and scream at you “How dare you abuse me, you stupid woman! It’s people like you that make the world so screwed up. I didn’t see you and if you had just spoken to me, maybe I would have been willing to move but not now. I feel sorry for those poor kids in the backseat to have a mother like you, you crazy woman”. This is the Outcome.
So, your kids are now all shaken up having witnessed the whole thing, you have more adrenaline in your system than what is healthy for you, and there is a growing rage inside you at the injustice of it all.
Here’s the question, if you had responded differently, how different would the outcome be?
E + R = O
Event + Response = Outcome
Sexy isn’t it!!
Let’s revisit the example. The driver steals your spot. You hurrmph, this is quite annoying. You sit there and wait until the driver gets out of her car three minutes later. You wind down your window and stick your head out.
“Excuse me, I was waiting for that spot, did you not see me?” you ask calmly.
“Oh no I didn’t see you, sorry about that. I would move for you but I am flat out and have to just run into the shops and grab some medicine from the pharmacy for my daughter. She is at home on her own waiting for me to get back and I am so stressed”.
“Look, no problem. I hope your daughter feels better soon”.
So, your kids witness a quality example of speaking up for yourself as well as a demonstration of empathy and kindness.
E + R = O
Event + Response = Outcome
We are continually at crossroads in life: do I go this way or that way? The only variable in this beautiful little equation is your response.
The event is what it is. Whether it is a positive or negative event doesn’t actually predict the outcome of the situation. I am sure many of you have had negative events happen yet because of how you have responded the outcome has been positive.
Your response on the other hand, is 100% up to you. Every minute of every day you get to decide how you show up, how you respond and therefore how pleasurable and happy your life is.
When we truly stand in full responsibility for our responses then the outcomes we achieve will reflect that.
And that equals a happier, calmer and more positive life.