Ever sit down at your computer to happily pick up a project where you left off, only to find that your progress mysteriously didn’t save? Or finish cleaning the floors, only to drop and shatter a light bulb? Killed yourself at the gym, only to gain a few pounds?
E + R = O
I love this equation, from Po Bronson’s book What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question. The E stands for Event. There are many events that we cannot control, such as the weather and external circumstances. We also cannot control things that have already happened. We might be able to change our behavior in the future, such as using a more reliable system of saving files, being more careful, or making dietary modifications, but we cannot change the past. We will assume for the purposes of this equation that the E has already happened.
The R stands for Response. Events beyond our control (or even within our control in the past) have happened. Now we get to choose how to respond. Do we get angry or give up? Or do we, in the words of Clark W. Griswold, press on?
Finally, the O stands for Outcome. This simple equation sums up how we are truly products of our choices. There is one piece of that equation that we have true control over. Which piece, you ask?
Choose Your Response
The area where we can have the most influence in transforming our lives is in how we respond to the events in our lives. The small setbacks don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. The only way they can is if we let them tear us down from our pursuit of our vision for the future.
They are there to teach us how to handle them the next many times that they will continue to pop up in our lives. Nothing is perfect. Setbacks and failures are inevitable. It doesn’t matter how many we encounter. What matters is how we respond to them.
Our Lives Depend on Our Responses
Our whole lives are dependent on how we respond to setbacks. Do we give up? If so, we will never achieve the desired outcome. Giving up negates all the previous hard work and robs us of the reward of living our dreams that we so deserve.
Responding to setbacks armed with the knowledge that they are inevitable makes it so much easier to press on.
Rather than getting all upset and considering quitting over a setback, why not turn it around, taking control of that setback?
Setbacks are like weeds — little expected unpleasantries. Oh setback, you. I already knew you were coming. You are not going to derail me from my greater plan. I am going to get over you fast and will be on my merry way enjoying the process of pursuing my dreams.
Conquer your setbacks. Don’t let them derail your plan. Have you recently had a setback that you can choose to overcome? Please share your thoughts!