E + R = O; An Equation For Life
Have you ever been in the situation where something has happened, you’ve reacted, and then spent month’s cleaning up the mess you’ve just made.
I know I have, and I used to do this all the time. That is until I came across this simple concept that had a massive impact on my life and relationships.
In fact the concept is so simple once I tell you it you’ll be thinking it’s obvious.
The concept I’m talking about is E + R = O and you can use it in every part of your life.
E is an Event
R is your Response
O is the Outcome.
I was introduced this concept by a friend who teaches it around the world.
When I heard it I thought “well that’s obvious!“. Then he explained how to use it and I saw positive impact it could have on my life.
So why it’s important and how can we use it.
There is wealth of material around about self improvement and personal development (it’s called the self-help industry) but no one actually shows you how to use the what you’ve learned.
E + R = O provides you with a framework to apply the knowledge you’ve learned at the correct time.
It’s like the difference between using a cup to drink water or your hands. Without the cup as a framework you’re probably going to lose most of the water you’re trying to drink.
To start using E + R = O we need to define what an event is and clear up a few misconceptions.
An event can be anything from a thought or feeling, to traffic, the weather, even a person. Basically, it’s anything that’s outside your control and you can’t change.
If you think about it, life is a never ending flow of events and we cannot predict or control the way these events will unfold.
This system allows you to produce results regardless of the events you face and how they unfold.
For example, have you ever seen two people experience the same event but have completely different results (outcomes) based on their response?
Some people will completely disagree with my next statement, but it is one of the most powerful and freeing concepts I have ever learned;
You are responsible for everything happening in your life.
One of the major problems is most people focus on the event even though they don’t have any control over it, and can’t change it. Instead you should look to control your response.
There are three key points to making E + R = O work for you:
1) Seeing the event clearly
2) Knowing the outcome you want
3) Managing your response
One of the biggest problems most people encounter is knowing the outcome they want.
For example, have you ever had an argument with someone (normally a partner) and forgotten what you were arguing about?
At that point you’ve lost the reason you were arguing and are now focusing on winning, not your desired outcome.
If you know the outcome you’re looking for at every step of the way, you can control your response to the events going on.
You should make it your goal to never have an event that is bigger than your response to it. This will require continually personal development.
Here’s another controversial concept; your response will determine the quality of your life.
Think about all the people that were given everything in life and blew it. Then think of all the people that started with nothing and got great things.
You are shaped by events, but not determined by them.
It can be difficult to control your response for three main reasons:
1) Power of Impulse – My mum always used to say “think before your speak“, this is the same thing. You should think before you act and respond in a considered way that leads to your desired outcome.
2) Power of Habit – Remember the old saying “old habits die hard“. To create new habits we need to actively and consistently look at changing our old ones.
3) Challenge of Big E’s – Big challenges simply require a more effective response and can take a longer time to deal with.
Here’s another question for you: What events tend to trigger an effective response in you?
For me, it’s arguments, particularly with my girlfriend. I always end up reacting and not responding to the situation, which just makes things worse.
Your answer may be completely different, but think about this; We don’t know how things will unfold, but we know what sort of things are likely to happen.
I’ll probably get angry again, I’ll have to deal with death or serious illness, etc, etc. In reality there are three types events that will always happen:
Knowing this you can pre-plan for any event you can think of. This will allow you to respond in the correct way at the correct time, and move you toward your desired outcome.
Take some time to think about the events you are likely to encounter in your life, then plan an effective response based on your desired outcome. Be as specific as possible.
Here’s an example to get you started;
E: What happens the next time someone cuts me off in traffic?
O: I do not want this to effect my mood, and cause me to drive erratically.
R: Take a deep breath, smile, and accept they must be in a real hurry to get somewhere.
Ultimately, there are no guarantees. We can never really know what the outcome of a situation will be, despite our best efforts. We can only respond to circumstances with our self-awareness and as broad a perspective as possible.
Since we are getting outcomes anyway, usually without applying much conscious thought, this formula gives us, a better opportunity to help shape the outcome to what we really want.
Take away points;
1) You do not control events. Free yourself from feeling responsible for events.
2) How you respond is always your choice. You are responsible for your actions.
3) Your behaviour (things I do, think, and feel) always produce some kind of outcome (result)
4) E + R = O is the way life works.