During the recent Tour de France cycle race, the eventual winner, Chris Froome, hit the back of a motorcycle and his bike frame was broken. He started to run up the hill until his support car arrived and he was given anew bike. He finished the stage safely.
Afterwards people marvelled at his composure in the evening and his team leader, Dave Brailsford said:
“He took Dr Steve Peters’ advice to employ rational thinking rather than emotional thinking.”
This came to mid recently when I recalled that some time ago I wrote a blog post lauding a simple equation that I had heard from Vistage speaker Nigel Risner and it turned out to be a life-changer for me. It seemed to me that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to repeat it for those who didn’t see it the first time.
“E + R = O”
that can be translated as:
“Event plus response equals outcome.”
It can be used in two ways. The more obvious is that there is an event and we experience an outcome that can be either positive or negative. Crucially it is our response to the event that triggers the outcome. If the response is emotional the outcome is frequently negative.
On the other hand it can be used in a positive sense. Try this for size. Again there is an event and we want a specific outcome. We can then adjust our response to obtain that outcome. That was thinking rationally. Easy, yes?
No it isn’t easy. Very often our response is immediate and unconsidered. Dr Steve Peters would say that it is our chimp talking and that is something over which we have little or no control and which can and often does exacerbate the situation.
What is needed in such a situation is a moment or two of mature rational thought, not much more, because in that short time we can hold back from that immediate emotional response that can cause havoc. Better to give a considered response that can help, mollify, smooth, and generally be considerate and positive.
It does take a modicum of self-control not to react to something that really does irritate or annoy but consider this. Do you always get a further response to an outburst of irritation or anger that is positive? Highly unlikely.
It usually results in another outburst followed by another and then we wonder why we are feeling so negative and why the other party doesn’t seem to understand the obvious.
What is obvious is that an event is an event and once it has happened it can’t be changed. What can be changed is our response to it and E+R=O demonstrates just how simple it can be to engineer a positive result.
It is in our own hands to ensure that we react to an event in a responsible and mature way without resorting to throwing things in exasperation. If we want a positive outcome to any event then it is up to us personally to provide it.
I have recently had a delivery of some wristbands from the USA on which the equation is emblazoned together with a follow-up saying “I own my response!” and that says it all.
If you would like one of these wristbands the first five requests will be sent one. Just email me with your name and address and I will post one on to you with pleasure.
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