hope you’re doing well. If you read the previous article, I’m curious if you have started to notice the areas in your life where maybe you aren’t taking 100% responsibility for your outcomes. Like I said in the previous article, this is not an easy thing to do because we are wired for self-preservation. It is in our nature to protect ourselves from things that could harm us, even if that thing is the beliefs we hold about ourselves and our results. It is sooo much easier to blame outside circumstances, but when we do, we give up the power to change it.
So here is a quick formula that I was introduced to that has served me well and I believe will serve you well if you implement it. The formula is:
E + R = O
(Event + Response = Outcome)
Here is how this works… Your outcomes or results are the product of your response to previous events. There are a variety of events that will happen that you have absolutely no control over, but what you always have control over is how you respond to those events. Over the course of our lives, we will likely experience bad economies, negative bosses, gender bias, racism, bad weather, traffic, unsupportive political climates, friends who try to bring you down, and so on. The list is literally never-ending. You ultimately can’t take responsibility or control for those events occurring, but you can control how you respond to those events.
Let’s break this down even further- you can’t control morning traffic, but is there something you can do that is productive that will make your drive to work more pleasant so if, or rather, when you experience morning traffic, you’re not frustrated and stress because you’re late? Maybe you plan for the traffic to happen so you leave earlier and are pleasantly surprised when the roads are clear. Maybe you subscribe to Audible and start listening to audio books. Maybe you find a new and interesting podcast on a topic that you’ve been wanting to learn about. Maybe you use that time to reflect on what is going well in your life.
I remember that a trigger for me when driving was when people knew a lane was ending and they would wait until the last minute to merge and then cause additional backups at the merge point. That drove me nuts. I recognized that it was something that would give me an emotional charge, so I took time to come up with a different response. I thought to myself – that I don’t know what is happening in that person’s life that is causing them to rush and make poor driving decisions. Perhaps if they are late again for work, they will get fired. Or maybe their child was sick in the morning and that put them behind. There are all sorts of reasons that could cause someone to be running late and perhaps them being late has real consequences for them. Or it could be that they are just selfish and believe their time is more valuable than mine, and if that is the case, they have much bigger problems. The point is that I no longer let that event that will inevitably happen, dictate how I am going to feel. I no longer get the negative emotional charge that I used to which would’ve impacted my day.
Now responding in a productive way to traffic is easy, and I know that we are faced with much more difficult challenges and events in our lives. The process is the same though. When you experience a boss or a coach who is abusive, or you experience racism, what is a better meaning that you can give to it and how are you going to respond so you can feel empowered rather than powerless? It is that response that will contribute to your outcome.
I challenge you to try giving new meaning and having productive responses to events that may not be positive and see how the outcome changes. Even if it just means that you’re in a better mood at the end of the day, that is a win. Because when you feel better, you perform better and when you’re in a better mood and a happier person, people will want to be around you and that will help strengthen your relationships. And that is a huge win.
Have a great week and I hope you will share some of your wins in the comments below.
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