This is the truth and I’ll be honest with you now. One of my biggest pet hates is when any coach, spiritual guru or self-help teacher tells you in order to be happy, you need to just think positively.
I don’t know what’s going on in your life, but sometimes there’s some real issues that we have to deal with. If only the biggest issues I’ve faced in my life were finding a new job to fund my world travel plans or not having a new outfit for the weekend or arriving at the deli only to find out my favourite sandwich had sold out or whatever first world problems we complain about.
Most of us have issues that really affect out lives. Most of us can’t “just think positively” to cure our poverty or grief or legal battles or unfulfillment of the life we’re living.
However, this doesn’t make us powerless.
In order to take charge of your life, you have to do exactly that. Be in charge. To do this, you need to take 100% responsibility. Now, if you’re anything like me, your defense will be up straight away and you’ll start listing off a whole bunch of reasons why it’s not your fault that you are where you are. Am I right?
But as you’ll see in a moment, I’m not suggesting that you take responsibility for every injustice you’ve experience and every time you’ve been wronged by someone, but I am saying that you need to take responsibility for how you reacted to it and how you let it define your reality.
We are so much more powerful than we allow ourselves to believe because it’s easy to give the power (and responsibility) to someone else. That way, it’s not our fault why we don’t have the lives we want. It’s always our upbringing, our financial situation, our love life (or lack of love life), it’s our children or our work commitments, it’s the government or the state of our country. It’s always out there somewhere. We point at everyone and everything else, except ourselves.
Let me explain…
I was watching a documentary one day and suddenly my screen lit up with a brilliant man called Jack Canfield. I’ve read some of his books and seen him in many things before so as soon as I saw his gentle face and calming nature, I instantly sat a little taller and had tunnel vision for any wisdom that he was about to share.
He spoke about a formula he lives his life by, which is:
E + R = O
E + R = O
Event + Response = Outcome
The Event is the thing that happened. The Event is neutral until we put a label on it, usually good or bad. We don’t always have control over the Event and sometimes we don’t even play a part.
We do, however, have control over how we Respond to the Event. Our Response is just as important as the Event in order to determine the Outcome. Let me give you an example:
You’re driving down the road and some inconsiderate driver cuts in front of you causing you to slam on your breaks (Event). How you Respond now will determine the Outcome.
You could bib your horn and let out your aggression. Causing you to be in a bad mood for the rest of your journey (and very possibly the rest of your day).
You could race ahead to catch up to him and give him a piece of your mind. Which could lead to a dangerous altercation.
You could think “Woah there Mr, slow down or you’ll cause an accident. Thank goodness my breaks are working!“
The problem is, most people want to feel right more than they want to feel happy. They don’t want to let that A hole get away with doing them wrong and they want him to know exactly what they think of him. In that moment they’re choosing to feel right instead of choosing to feel happy.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the A hole in the car has just heard that his wife was in an accident and is rushing to the hospital. Or that he just found out his mother is about to take her last breath and he wants to say his last goodbye. Or, he may just be an A hole. Who knows?
The point is, you’re judging the backstory of the Event and then Responding to the back story that YOU’VE created which then leads to an undesirable Outcome. This is a closed mindset.
A much more beneficial way to create more happiness would be to work a little backwards.
Let’s say an Event occurred. Before you Respond (or react to feel right), ask yourself what Outcome you’d want. When you know the Outcome you want, it will give you a much better indication to the Response you should give.
If this is not how you usually operate, it may not be easy in the beginning, it definitely wasn’t for me. You’re running reactive programming that you’ve been practicing for years and years, so give yourself time. The more you practice it, the easier it becomes. Don’t beat yourself up if you realise a little too late that you’ve Responded in a way that doesn’t give you the Outcome you want. The fact that it’s come to your attention at all means you’re making the changes necessary to create more happy Outcomes.
You have to take responsibility for your Responses and reactions and therefore, for the Outcomes you’ve created. You hold the power to your happiness 100% and now that you know this secret formula, you have the knowledge to apply it to your life.
Things won’t change overnight, but they will change and before you know it, you’ll look back and think “why didn’t I do this sooner?”
Working on your mindset and perspective is the best gift you can give yourself because it will change your life. Empowering yourself is never time wasted.
If you want to learn tangible ways to empower yourself and improve your mindset, uncover the simple science behind why it works and how you can easily apply this information into your life, then consider taking my Rhi-vive Your Mindset course.
Where are you Responding in your own life to create Outcomes that don’t support your happiness?
Brainstorm ways you can change your Responses or things you can do to repair previous Responses.
Look into where you’d like to experience more happiness and how you can make it more of a priority.
Take 2 or 3 actions today to start building momentum. You may have step outside of your comfort zone a little bit, but my god it will be so worth it. Take the leap of faith.
You can find more info about Rhi-vive Your Mindset here.