Saturday, October 8, 2005 at 9:51PM
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.