Events + Response = Outcome


One of the most influential equations that I have learned in my life has been:
E + R = O
For this equation;

  • E = Events
  • R = Your chosen response to an Event
  • O = The overall outcome

In the model, the “Event” is neutral. It is not “good” or “bad”, it is just a life circumstance. It is our Response to an event that will shape how we label or perceive the event in our minds. How we choose to Respond to an event directly effects the overall outcome.

For example, imagine you are a school-aged kid being called a name by one of your classmates. You choose to respond by calling the other kid a worse name. The outcome is that the other kid hits you.

Imagine this scenario with a different response. You are a school-aged kid being called a name by one of your classmates. You ignore the other kid and move to the other side of the playground to be with a group of your friends. The outcome is that you have moved on with your day without conflict.

Let us look at this equation from an “Influence versus Control” perspective

  • E = Events – These are things that you typically can’t control. You may be able to influence factors leading up to events, but the event would have happened without you. Life events can be the small events such as being cut off in traffic or misplacing your house keys to major life events such as your house burning down or losing a family member.
  • R = Response – This is where you have some control. You can choose your response. When a life event happens, you can remember that there are multiple ways to respond to any situation and you can practice taking the time needed to evaluate your response. Since your response has a strong influence on the outcome, it is important to take personal responsibility for your responses to all life events.
  • O = Outcomes- This is an areas where we have influence. If we react “positively” to a situation, we are more likely to experience a “positive” outcome.

The next time “life happens”, do your best to take the time to evaluate your response and observe how the outcome unfolds.

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5 Comments to “Events + Response = Outcome”

  1. This is a nice simple way Influence to explain how we can take a conscious role in what comes our way in life. My ex taught me that no one can make you feel anything — you choose how you want to feel. When we were together I just didn’t “get it”….in time I learned. What you have here falls in line with that. Sometimes our reaction to being attacked verbally is like a reflex (is for me) and it’s hard as hell not to want to use my laser tongue with stinging words or gestures instead of ignoring, nicing the situation to death or walking away keeping my emotions, nasty words and gestures to myself.

    • Thank you comment.This reminds me of a commenta psychologist friend of mine made. Sometimes there are situations that we are so emotionally primed, we react instantaneously. This occurs for people that have post traumatic stress. It is easier to choose our emotional response if we can “stop and think” before reacting.

  2. I like the equation. It is a simple way to state that responding is better than reacting and you have the responsibility for the impact you have on others.

    Sue Bock
    http://bestlifeafterbreastcancer.com
    http://couragetoadventure.com

    couragetoadventurecoaching.wordpress.com

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