One of my favorite personal development teachers is Jack Canfield, who appeared in The Secret and co-created the wildly successful Chicken Soup for the Soul book series.
I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Jack, and I know many people who call him a friend. One of my favorite formulas of his is one that I use and quote on a regular basis.
It’s a solid reminder that while we can’t control what happens outside of ourselves, we can certainly control how we respond to it… and that one simple decision affects the results we get.
Here it is in Jack’s own words:
What prevents you from achieving the success you want?
Is it a lack of money, free time, or opportunities at work? Have you not achieved your goals because of the economy, what your business colleagues have done (or not done), or the lack of motivation among your employees? Perhaps you place the blame on how you were raised or on your family for not giving you the proper amount and type of support.
If you responded to my question with a laundry list of reasons why you aren’t where you want to be, you’re not alone. Most people automatically find excuses and blame others when things don’t work out the way they want. This seems to be particularly true in the United States, where many people buy into the myth that we are entitled to success and happiness – that someone else should be giving us what we want.
However, if unlimited success is your goal, looking outside of yourself is a strategic error. The most important lesson you must understand that you are 100 percent responsible for your life – the good and the bad.
The formula I like to use to explain this concept is:
E + R = O (Events + Responses = Outcome)
The basic idea is that every outcome you experience in life (whether it’s success or failure, wealth or poverty, wellness or illness, intimacy or estrangement, joy or frustration) is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event in your life. Likewise, if you want to change the results you get in the future, you must change how you respond to events in your life … starting today.
What Most People Do
When people don’t like the outcomes they are experiencing, most choose to blame the event (E) for their lack of results (O).
In other words, you can blame the economy, the weather, the lack of money, lack of education, racism, gender bias, the current administration in Washington, your wife or husband, your boss’s attitude, the lack of support, and so on. If you’re a golfer, you’ve probably even blamed your clubs or the course you’ve played on – but never yourself. This is what most people do.
It’s true that these factors exist and that they impact you. However, if they were the deciding factor in whether someone succeeded or not, nobody would ever succeed. For every reason it’s not possible, there are hundreds of people who have faced the same circumstances and succeeded.
The deciding factor in success is not the external conditions and circumstances. It’s how you choose to respond (R).
Read the full story at JackCanfield.com.