Event + Response = Outcome
This has to be the most clarifying and life changing concepts I’ve ever known. Beautiful in its simplicity and powerful in its message.
I remember learning about this concept while reading one of John Maxwell’s books on success several years back.
event + response = outcome
You cannot control the event.
You can only control your response, which will ultimately determine the outcome.
The change agent is you.
I carry this concept around with me always as if it were a security blanket. It applies to every facet of life: relationships, work, and personal growth.
The news is full of countless examples of “circumstances” getting the better of individuals. A simple altercation escalates and base instincts take over.
We need to reject this way of thinking reacting and compel ourselves to a higher level of thinking. This especially holds true for our children as they struggle with how to resolve conflict.
Whether it’s having a racial epithet hurled at you, someone “disrespects” you, or smudges up your brand new kicks, your response will determine the outcome. Your response – and not a reaction – can determine whether an altercation escalates, whether both parties walk away alive or dead, or whether you end up in jail.
The most obvious of example is having someone call you out of your name, perhaps they call you the N-word. Let’s say you accidentally cut someone off while driving home from work. He pulls up next to you and calls you the N-word. It could easily be a woman calling another woman the B-word. This is the Event.
Now, the most important part of the equation is your Response.
Let’s say you choose Response Door #1: You haul off and hit the offending name caller. Ego drives your reaction.
The likely outcome? You both go to jail. Or you just go to jail. You’ve jeopardized your career and your freedom, all for the personal satisfaction of “showing” the offender he can’t “get away with it.” A small comfort as you possibly face assault charges.
Now, suppose you picked Response Door #2: You brush it off, note the tag number, and keep it moving. Your response is driven by intellect and calculation.
The likely outcome? You make it home safely to your family. The offending name caller isn’t worth your time, effort, and certainly not risking your future. After all, it isn’t just about you; it is about your family, your job, and your livelihood.
Unless someone is a direct physical threat to me or my family I will always choose what’s behind Response Door #2, the outcome that gets me home safely and doesn’t mess with my money.
Now that’s what I call “keeping it real.”