Posts tagged ‘E+R=O’

May 21, 2012

What’s Your Story?

Most of us do not realize the power of our own internal story telling. We assume that our identity if fixed and we are just experience life as it comes to us. What we may not realize is the fact that how we choose to experience our life is influenced by many unconscious assumptions related to how we are “writing” our own story. Once we realize that we are authors of our own story, we are better able to guide the narrative of our lives.

Setting:
The setting is really just where you are in the moment. It is your specific location in time and place. The setting is just part of our story. It can have an influence on us, and our actions. Our current setting does not define us. Just because you may have lived in the same location for your entire life does not mean that that will always be the case. You can change your setting is you so desire. If you do not like a particular setting such as living with someone who gives you more frustration that affection, then you have the ability to leave. Our setting has an influence on us, but it does not control us.
Character:
You have control over the elements of your character. Your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, habits and attitudes guide your actions. How you frame your role in different situations will affect your response and possible outcomes to these events. The role of your character may change depending on the setting, how you view your involvement in the current “plot line” and in relation to the others around you. You may perceive your role as:
– the victim
– the hero
– the complex misunderstood character
– the comic foil
– the central character
– the social observer
– etc.
Remember, you are the one constructing the narrative in your own mind. How do you want to see yourself?
Plot:
We are in control of the perceiving meaning that we discern from our life’s events. However, we do not have control over many things that happen to us. Based on our beliefs of our role in our lives settings and routines, we will distill meaning from what happens to us.
If we see ourselves as the unfortunate victim of life events, the coffee that we accidentally spilled on ourselves on the way to that important job interview will be construed as a tragic element in a series of unfortunate events. We may proceed even further with our internal plot line by acting in some unfortunate subconscious way that leads to a nervous unflattering job interview that leads to losing the prospective new job.
When we see ourselves as the fortunate protagonist, the coffee spilled on our dress shirt will just be a minor obstacle to conquer. Our plucky character will find a napkin and soda water to clean the stain or even would use the incident as a humorous anecdote to start the job interview. Even if this perceived “champion” does not get the job, our internal dialogue will weave the story as just one step of many in the quest for optimal employment.
How we “write” our plot will control how will remember the event. When we tell stories about our lives at the end of the day, it is clear to the plot lines that we see ourselves in and the role our character plays.

In closing, I realize there is so much more to say about this topic. I want to give a shout out to Lem at  The Identity Specialist  (http://identityspecialist.net) and Karen Wan at Writing your destiny (http://writingyourdestiny.com) since they thing about these concepts as well.

Now go write yourself a good story!

May 13, 2012

“Surf Lessons”

Today my buddy and I surfed Windansea, one of the more noteworthy surf spots in San Diego. This place is known for its’ competitive local attitude. If you are not a decent surfer and if you are not familiar to the other guys in the lineup, you are prone to verbal insults or being “ganged up” on by the local crew. Why surf here? It is an awesome wave and it can be really fun.

A few years ago when I surfed this legendary surf break I did not feel worthy. I wiped out a couple of times and I felt out of place in the lineup. I also received some rancorous comments from the local surf crew. I left this session feeling inferior and depleted.

This morning was quite different. I have become a much better surfer in the last few years and I have total control of my board. My friend and I easily caught as much or more waves then the other guys in the lineup. All the interactions with my fellow surfers were positive. I felt worthy. I had an awesome day!

Between waves, I reflected on all of the life lessons that were applicable:

1) Accept feedback – When I last surfed Windansea, I was not “good enough”. At that time, I did not have the requisite skill to be in the lineup. It was beneficial to acknowledge that I needed to improve ability before going back.

2) Practice, Patience and Persistence will get you where you want to go. – If you want something, you need to put in the effort and have patience for your desired outcome. In the blogging world, it is best to keep writing to hone your craft, be persistent through times where you do not feel inspired and be patient for the possibility of an expanded readership.

3) Don’t Take Anything Personally – As Don Miguel Ruiz stated in “The Four Agreements”, “nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” There is always a chance that you are going to run into “grumpy” people in the community or in the surf lineup. Their attitude is their issue. Don’t make it yours.

4) Remember that you are in control of how to respond to every situation. –  As discussed yesterday, how we respond to the actions and reactions of others can affect how a situation can play out and can affect your emotional response.

5) Be here, now and “go with the flow”. – When you find something you truly enjoy, it is easier to live in the moment and feel the joy of the situation. Surfing does this for me.

Thank you for your patience for all of my surfing metaphors. Have a great day!

May 11, 2012

Choose Well!

Today, I experienced a situation that was a prime example of how choosing your response to a given situation can effect how you feel about a given situation.

This morning, I went surfing with a friend of mine at La Jolla Shores. This surfing spot is characteristically crowded and frequently has surfers of a wide range of abilities. In general, if you get up set if there is someone “in the way” every time you paddle for a wave, you will most likely have a very frustrating surf session. If you surf within your ability and are aware of where everyone is in the lineup, you will more likely enjoy yourself.

For those unfamiliar with surfing, each wave has a “peak” where the wave starts to break. A surfer can choose to surf on the right, or on the left of the peak. On one of the waves that I was planning on paddling into, I clearly pointed right indicating that I was going right and I angled my board to the right so it was clear where I was going. As I stood up on the wave, a surfer who was to my right angrily shouted, “where are you going”? At this point I could choose to respond to this person by explaining to them that I had clearly communicated my intention and that it was all surfer’s responsibility to look both ways down a wave before taking off. The option that I choose was to let it go and keep surfing. Later in my surf sessions, a surfer with less experience got in my way on the inside of the wave causing me to cut out early. This surfer apologized for getting in the way. At this point, I could have chosen to angrily shout, “What are you doing?” Instead I choose to say, “no worries, it is all good” and we chatted for a while about the characteristics of the surf spot.

At the end of the session I felt great. I caught waves consistently. The water was warm and the surf was fairly consistent. By remembering to respond to others with forgiveness and understanding, I was able to remain in a calm, positive emotional space. However, there is an alternative reality of what could have happened. If I had initially chosen to respond to the angry surfer with anger, we would have had an angry exchange in the lineup. We would have both likely “bummed out” the surfers around us and the entire experience would have been defined by that anger. I would currently be writing a story about how inconsiderate other people can by and I would likely frame my role as either the “victim” or “hero”.

Choosing our reactions to situation can be one of the most important things that we control. How we choose to respond can significantly influence the others around us.

Choose well!

Photo Credit: http://www.everyspot.com

May 11, 2012

Don’t Be a “Grouch”!

 

There are people in our lives that appear to go out of their way to conversationally invalidate everything we say. When we discuss how to solve a complex problem with them, they will state the obstacle to every possible solution. When you remark on a sunny day, they will inform you of the harmful effects of UV radiation. When you remark on how the cloudy day is a perfect day to work outside without getting too hot, they will complain about the “gray gloom”. When you start to talk about a major problem in your life, instead of validating how you feel or see if there is anything to do to help you, this person will pat you on the back and tell you it will all be OK. When conversing with a constant contrarian, you will likely leave the interaction frustrated and depleted.

I have to acknowledge that I have my own inner “grouch”. This is the voice inside my head that can derail forward progress. My internal contrarian gives me a reason to stay in bed when I plan to wake up early and exercise. This subconscious naysayer provides me with ample reasons to downplay the compliments of others. It takes vigilance to keep this voice in check. I am glad that I have practiced the habit of reviewing my thoughts before they are spoken. Some times this inner curmudgeon presents its’ input during ordinary conversation. For example, a friend of mine informed me of the fun he had discovering an outstanding Mexican marketplace where you could find excellent traditional Mexican food at great prices. My inner killjoy wanted to inform him of the fact that my does not eat a lot Mexican food and that this place, that gave him a sense of satisfaction and pride, just wouldn’t work for me. Luckily my pre-frontal cortex kicked in and allowed me to evaluate my response. What value would I be adding to the conversation by dismissing the value of this new Market? My friend wanted to be validated for his excitement. He did not want to speak with a proverbial “wet blanket”.

One of the benefits of meditation or quiet reflection is that we can evaluate our inner dialogue in a detached manner. We can observe our thought patterns and notice the general feeling of our thoughts. When we realize that our thoughts are just a part of our identity and do not compromise the totality of our identity, we understand that we can control what we think and what we say. We know from experience that is annoying to speak with a constant contrarian. There is no benefit from being a contrarian ourselves.

April 29, 2012

Responding to Life Events

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 affects 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.

One Saturday, I experienced an opportunity to reflect on my responses to a common life situation. While playing with my children at the beach, I noticed that I no longer had my car keys. I could not use my phone to call my wife since my phone was locked in my car. My kids had just come out of the water and they were cold. There was a storm coming and rain was just minutes away.

In the past, this situation would have freaked me out. I would have become extremely frustrated and my blood pressure would have risen. Most likely, I would have started using expletives at an increasingly frequent level.

When I reflected on the fact that the only thing that I could control in this situation was my response to this situation, I was in a much better place for problem solving. I knew that there were just a limited amount of possible actions. First I unpacked all of our stuff to look for the key. Then I backtracked everywhere that we had been at the beach that day. Once I felt that I had just about exhausted all my options. I asked a fellow beach goer to barrow their cell phone. I called my wife to see if she could come pick us up. My wife’s phone went straight to voicemail, so the option of being “rescued” appeared off the table. While the kids played on a play structure, I went back to an area of the play area  that we had been playing before the key was lost and I started a grid search of the sand area looking for the key. After a while of searching,I found the key.

In this scenario, if had chosen to respond with anger, I could have “ruined” the day for my children and myself. By remaining calm, our family fun day continued on without incident. The next time “life happens”, remember you have the ability evaluate your response before you take action. When we chose to remain calm in a problematic situation, we are more likely to consider all of our options and problem solve effectively.

April 2, 2012

Acceptance (Habit Change Challenge Day 2)

Hello Beautiful Blogging World,

I was successful for day one with all of my target goals. I meditated. I exercised. I read affirmations and I journaled my gratitudes and my successes. I am going on a vacation with the family and I am very excited.

I have been doing a lot of thinking about acceptance. I plan on spending more time on “acceptance” in a later post. Today, I will just share my affirmation about “acceptance”

I accept everything element that is a part of my life.

I accept all aspects about this  moment in time.

I accept that all my previous thoughts feelings and actions have brought me to where I am in this present time and place.

I accept all forms of feedback from my environment.

I realize that when I resist all those factors that I can not control, I feel “stressed” and powerless.

When I accept all that I can not control and realize that I can always control how I react, I feel empowered.

–Have a great day!

 

March 26, 2012

GRATITUDE 4 the 7 X 7 Link Award!

First and foremost, I would like to show my appreciation to Marcy King at http://orples.wordpress.com/ for the nomination of the 7 X 7 Link award. Marcy has been very encouraging of “Influence Versus Control” and she always provides great comments. Marcy’s site includes great information about her children’s books as well as some cool photography.

And now, the rules for the 7 X 7 Link Award

  1. Give thanks and acknowledgements to the blogger who nominated you for this award
  2. List 7 of your previous links in the following categories. Most Helpful, Most Popular, Most Beautiful Piece, Most Controversial, Most Surprisingly Successful, Most Underrated, Most Pride Worthy)
  3. List 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for this award.

Here are my SEVEN Links:

1.) Most Helpful – Setting Personal Goals

2.) Most Popular – Personal Responsibility

3.) Most Beautiful Piece – People First!

4.) Most Controversial – Identity

5.) Most Surprisingly Successful – Being Sick

6.) Most Underrated – Find Your Passion!

7) Most Pride Worthy – Scripting For Emotional Success

SEVEN things about myself (Andrew Gilbert)

  1. The most important thing to me is being a good father. I prioritize spending time with my children as much as possible.
  2. My wife, Emily Dolton, is an inspiring member of the local community and she does much as she can to address the needs of people with special needs. She is also an amazing artist/ muralist (http://www.insideemilyshead.com/)
  3. I have a child that has “special needs”. I definitely feel that his needs do not define him and are just an attribute (see People First blog). The love that I have learned from this “little guy” and overcoming his early health obstacles have been the main inspiration for changing my overall life outlook from “totally cynical” to a “recovering cynic”.
  4. As a “recovering cynic”, I admit that I am not perfect. I have not “been to the mountain top”, but I have seen postcards. I practice every day to be more positive and collect more data to reinforce a more optimistic worldview.
  5. As a school based occupational therapist, I have collaborated on two programs that utilize movement as an instructional strategy. One of these programs was demonstrated to improve vision skills, the other was demonstrated to improve handwriting / penmanship for Kindergarten students. I feel that movement is vital for all of us and that movement is a vital instructional strategy.  (http://occupationaltherapystrategies.com/)
  6. I love to surf. It helps clear my brain and it is great exercise!
  7. When the surf is blown out  or too small, I like mountain biking.

For this award, I did my best to “spread the love around”. There are some great bloggers that I follow I want to acknowledge Jay Rondo for the Versatile Blogging nomination and “a kiss of bliss” for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”. Thanks again to Marcy King at http://orples.wordpress.com/ for the nomination of the 7 X 7 Link award!

The SEVEN nominated bloggers for the 7 X 7 Link Award are:

  1. http://davidkanigan.com/ – For positive words and art.
  2. http://positivecookieattitudes.wordpress.com – More than just positive baking advice. Consistent positive blogging action!
  3. http://identityspecialist.net/ – Total honest, in your face blogging action!
  4. http://gyatoday.wordpress.com/ – This blog reminds us that it is always better to give than receive.
  5. http://everythingvnothing.wordpress.com/ – This blog provides consistent inspiration.
  6. http://momentumofjoy.wordpress.com/ – The name says it all. This blog keeps the joy moving.
  7. http://currierose.wordpress.com/ – A wonderful spirit! I love the whimsy and honesty.

 

Thank you very much for stopping by “Influence Versus Control”. Please stop by and say “Hello” to the great bloggers listed in this award.

March 24, 2012

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.

March 19, 2012

Responding to Feedback at Work

I submitted a work report to someone with authority to review. Although I submitted the report by e-mail  to get feedback on the content, I received a responding e-mail with the bolded words “there are several typos throughout”. However, the overall quality of the report was deemed to be accurate.

There are multiple ways that we can choose to respond any situation. For the best possible outcome in this work situation, I was appreciative for the feedback and used the feedback to correct my report.

It is beneficial to let others know that you are appreciative for any feedback they give you. Other people can provide us with a unique perspective that can help our performance (such as catching typos in your drafts).

When we receive feedback, it is important to keep our ego in check.I have to admit that I had a moment where my ego got involved. The e-mail statement “there are several typos throughout” was copied to five of my colleagues! I read through the entire document twice and found (only) two mistakes!

Luckily, I was able to keep my ego in check. I realized that I need to work on editing my own work since I have difficulty seeing the details. I asked another co-worker to look at the document and they found about 6 small errors. If I listened to my ego, I would not have been open to additional feedback.

When we receive feedback that we interpret as “negative”,  the ego / story telling mind can get a little carried away. These examples are exaggerated to make a point. This is what we do NOT want to do.

The ego can create stories imagining the intention of others

-“This person is trying to make me look bad.”

-“My colleagues can’t wait to judge me on this”.

The ego can create stories to defend itself.

-“I was tired when I wrote this report, it is understandable that I made a few mistakes.

-“I am more of a big picture type of person, these small details don’t matter”

If the ego feels very threatened, it may go on the attack. In this case, the ego will create a story line that justifies depreciating the source of the “threat”.

-“What does that person know, they are only a _________”

Yes, this is a silly example. This situation is minor. This is just a small “blip on the screen”. However, if we do not keep our “ego in check” and get a grasp on our responses to minor situations, we can create the proverbial “mountain out of a molehill”. For example, if I replied to the initial e-mail with some sort of “snarky” comment, I could have damaged rapport with many people.

When receiving feedback at work, it is important to:

1)  Acknowledge the positive! Sometimes we can overlook positive feedback if we receive just a little bit of “negative” feedback.

2) Consider if the feedback is valuable. Will this feedback help you achieve your goal?

3) Show appreciation for feedback. In most cases, someone has taken their own time to consider a product, report or project. Please thank them for their time.

4) Keep your ego in check!

Have a great work day!

March 16, 2012

The Four Agreements

The Four Agreements is an great book by Don Miguel Ruiz.

If you have not read it yet, I strongly recommend it. These four agreements and really help you reflect on how you are choosing to engage with others and react to life events.

Below are quotes from “The Four Agreements”

  Be Impeccable with Your Word

Words are important. Words have power to create positive or negative messages. The truth is the most important part of being impeccable with your word. Nurture the seeds of truth, empowerment, kindness and discretion with your Word.

Don’t Take Anything Personally

Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.  To take things personally means you make the assumption that everything is about “me.” If someone gives you an opinion, it is they who are dealing with the feelings, beliefs or opinions.  If you take it personally, you take on the message, and make it yours.  You set yourself up to suffer for nothing.  You are personally and ethically responsible for your own actions and words, and no one else’s.

Don’t Make Assumptions

The problem with making assumptions is that you believe they are the truth.  All the sadness and drama you have experienced was rooted in making assumptions, and then taking them personally.  You assume that others think, feel, judge and abuse the way you do.  We make assumptions about ourselves. The way to keep from making assumptions is to ask questions.  Make sure communication is clear.  Have the courage to ask questions, including of yourself.

Always do Your Best
Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good. No more and no less than your best. If you always do your best there is no way you can judge yourself.  Your best does not overdo, because you deplete your body and go against yourself. If you take action because you have to, then you cannot do your best. Action is about living fully.  Inaction is the way that we deny life.  Live your life, and always do your best.