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E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome) - dealing appropriately with "cringe" Inbox items

This formula is one I picked up from The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, by Jack Canfield. (Disclaimer: I didn't read the entire book, or even scan it very thoroughly; it has its problems, but I did get "E + R = O" out of it.) The basic idea (something David Allen talks about) is that events are just things that happen, and it's our response to them that determines the resulting outcome. I tend to respond from a position of fear/dread, expecting negatives. (That's why Learned Optimism : How to Change Your Mind and Your Life is next on my reading list.) I was reminded of my reaction pattern today when I looked at my mail and had a strong negative response to a letter from my insurance company. Actually, it was a response to the envelope - I hadn't even opened the letter! The point is this: Without opening the letter I really don't know what it's about, which means my response was not appropriate. The letter could be a number of things - a statement (not a bill), a bill, a reimbursement, a thank you letter, etc. Additionally, regardless of the content, an emotion reaction is not productive. One of my goals is to change my "R" to be more in the GTD style - I'd rather ask the question "What is it" with an engaged sense of curiosity. (I've heard this also discussed from the "monster" perspective: When you encounter a monster - a piece of paper - your first question should be "What does it want?" Without this knowledge, it is impossible to react appropriately.) And it is the event plus my response that determines outcome - I can get upset, ruin my day, and be in a poor mood, or I can approach each "E" with curiosity and openness. I prefer the latter, and I'd like to react as Martha Ringer describes in Windows of Delight: "with [a] child-like innocent delight". Well said.

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    [...]E + R = O (Event + Response = Outcome) - dealing appropriately with "cringe" Inbox items - The Experiment-Driven Life Blog - Matthew Cornell. Think, Try, Learn[...]

Reader Comments (5)

Event + Response = Outcome
Give what you want, write your own skit.
The gift of life, the gift of wit.
Your life was meant to be... You are here.
Predestined to overcome fear...
Understand the idea of liberty.
Use the power to determine your destiny.
You are in business for yourself don't go with the flow.
Choose your path keep it on the go...
Research the procedure, manner or mode.
Use the formula to break the code.
E+R=O this we now know...
Take the route of advancement scurry, scurry.
Know what you want is out there hurry, hurry.
It is out of the reach of close-mindedness...
Be positive, open minded and full of bliss.
The mistrust we may have in our sisters and brothers.
Created by wrong doings of past others...
We have got the clout not to fight, scream or shout.
Faith and hope we cannot live without.
Use your new wisdom without a doubt...
Understand the formula, use the clout.
Destiny is your fortune in waiting.
Be positive it is not thin ice on which you are skating...
Outside the understanding of glee.
An existence restricted, bound 'N' unfree...
No need to worry or sit and pout.
Hold to your positive beliefs, values and skills; have no doubt!
Many paths we may take, determined by your response for goodness sake.

Copyright © 2001 - 2007 Clinton W. J. Collins

October 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Thank you, Anonymous. Whew! That one has a lot in it, and it'll take time to sink in...

October 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell
The evnts happening to me is (good or bad) is the outcome of the universe / nature forces. And if I decline it, then I am going againts the nature and will result in guilt, anger, frustration, etc. However, I will make sure - if there any unhappy situation in which I am - this unhappy situation never happens to me by applying E+R=O

November 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAbhishek
Interesting, Abhishek. I'm not sure I understand. I agree that events are a result of putting something out there (i.e., taking individual action) and experiencing the results from the world. I can chose to accept them, but healthy acceptance - to me - means acknowledging what is under my control, and what is not. If I fight what I can't control, then I experience the feelings you suggest - guilt, etc. At the same time, I acknowledge that I always have two things I can change: My thinking and my behavior. I may chose to try to change events, of course, or to ignore what happened. Either way I need to be clear with myself about my choices.

Thanks for your comment.
November 1, 2010 | Registered CommenterMatthew Cornell
great man. i feel really happy. whenever i read it.
February 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterabdul

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