E + R = O, an equation to live by

I’m reading Jack Canfield’s The Success Principles again. I never seem to tire of this classic book on creating the life you truly want. I’m convinced that if you were to apply all of the principles in this gem, that it would be nearly impossible not to be successful in a meaningful way.

One of the key principles that he sets out in the first chapter is the idea of taking full responsibility for your life, and he uses a simple equation to illustrate this:

Event + Response = Outcome, or E + R = O

Our present reality and life circumstances are the Outcome. Every thought, choice, decision and action that you have taken to date have led you exactly to where you are right now. If you are not completely happy with your present life, whether it’s with your relationships, your fitness level, or your financial state, then in essence, the Outcome is something that you want to change.

Events happen around us all of the time (some argue that we attract and create these Events as well, but that’s another topic altogether…). Your parents split up, the family pet dies, there’s an earthquake, the power goes out… life is full of Events. You’ll hear many people claim that their present problems are a result of such Events. This isn’t completely true. If you were to go back and take a good look at all of the little (and big) actions, thoughts and decisions that had been made in response to these Events, you would likely see a course of life that led to this present Outcome based solely on those reactions, not on the Event itself.

So what do you do in the face of the stuff life throws you? Well, you have a choice. In fact, that is really the only thing you do have control over. You can choose your Response. You may choose to allow yourself to feel defeated, negative and a victim. Or you may choose to adopt a different perspective and to learn from the situation and prepare (as best as possible) for it if it happens again. You may choose to review the steps that led to it and change the current trajectory of your life.

For example, you might be laid off unexpectedly from a job. You might choose to fight the employer, fall into the doldrums, or be angry and bitter. Alternately, you might view this as an incredible opportunity! Perhaps you can finally go back to school, or move into a different field.

I know people who have turned job layoffs into awesome realities. One friend couldn’t find a new job and decided to take a vacation in Southeast Asia, where he ended up landing an excellent job and discovering a new creative passion. Seven years later and he’s still there! Another friend was laid off and used the time between jobs to study for a credential that later completely changed the way she did business. That single inspired decision is still paying off (literally) in her knowledge about how to earn more money.

So the next time life throws you a doozy, it might be worth it to take a good look at how you respond. Remember you have a choice! Be creative and see if you can learn from the choices that led to that event. Talk to people you trust and see if they can help you see a more positive perspective if you are having trouble seeing one. If you can shift your reaction, then you will be headed for a far better Outcome.

Be well, Stephanie

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