In my latest book, Coaching is Teaching at its Best! I made mention in Tip #5 (Go to Practice with the Right Attitude) of a unique philosophy of life that is expressed as an alphabetical formula. E + R = O represents a philosophy that can be applied to virtually every aspect of one’s life. The credit for this philosophy actually goes to Jack Canfield, a California-based, motivational speaker who is also the author of the best-selling Chicken Soup for the Soul series. Simply put, this philosophy is meant to teach the importance of attitude (how we respond to events in our lives) in order to impact those outcomes.
The formula reads, E + R = O with the “E” standing for Events. Throughout our lives, each of us is impacted by certain events, some good and some not good. In fact, some may be absolutely horrific. While we may bring some of these events onto ourselves due to poor choices or irresponsible actions we may have taken, in many cases these events are totally outside of our control. They are just things that happen to us in life. The “R” stands for Response. When those events do occur in our life, while we cannot change the actual event, we do control how we respond to it. How we respond to those events is totally up to us and how we respond will largely determine the “O”, the outcome or end result.
So, if you are looking for a positive outcome, then it makes sense that you need to have a positive response to the event. Unfortunately, many of us seem to think the “R” stands for react and this, in most cases leads to a negative outcome. A response, while guided by well-grounded thought and logic, is far different from an instinctive reaction. But, in today’s hectic, fast-paced world of non-stop, 24/7, self-serving technology and instant gratification, how do we remind ourselves to slow down, to hit the pause button and take that deep breath to help us find that positive response that will ensure a positive outcome?
Maybe we need to alter the formula.
I have learned over the course of my life that if I want a positive outcome to any event, be it good or bad, I need to respond in such a way that emphasizes the positive, caring, compassionate spirit in each of us. As awkward, strange, even silly as it may sound, when we respond out of love to any situation, the outcomes are almost always positive. On the contrary, if I respond out of hate, anger or fear, the outcomes will ultimately be negative. Even if in the very short-term it seems like the right outcome, over time I will learn that it was not the right way to respond.
E + P + R = O
So, how do I immerse myself in love and compassion so that I respond in the best way possible? I PRAY first. Going to God in prayer has always been the most logical way I know of to find the good that is deep inside me, or for that matter, the good that is deep inside each and every one of us. After any event that has impacted us, if we take the time to pray first for guidance and direction, for ultimately an outcome that would be God’s will and not necessarily our will, there is far greater potential for us to make the right response and for the outcome to be positive.
I love the Jack Canfield’s E + R = O philosophy and I am convinced it can change lives. On the other hand, by adding prayer to the process (E + P + R = O), I am convinced we can do more than change lives; we can change the world.
“Now these three remain; faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13