"No, what's that?" I responded.
Scott went on, "It stands for 'Experience plus Response equals Outcome.' And the only thing I ever have control of in that equation is my response. So, knowing that my response to any giving situation will always determine the outcome, good or bad, this simple equation helps to keep me mindful of how I react."
Thank you, Scott. Having this easy-to-remember equation reminds me that no matter what I experience, I always have the choice as to how I'll respond. Although most of the time it doesn't feel that way, I am painfully aware that my knee-jerk reaction usually leads to regret. On the other hand, every time I remember that the outcome will always be determined by my response I tend to exercise my power of choice wisely. And each time I do I am always pleasantly surprised at the positive outcome that follows.
A reading from the meditation book "Touchstones, Daily Meditations for Men" hits the nail on the head;
... we all confront our reactive habits in relationships. ... we soon must face how much other people's behavior has been a cue for our own reactions. There is always a three-part process in any reaction - first, the other person's behavior, second, a moment of choosing a response, and third, our reaction. But in our spiritual slavery, we don't notice the choice stage. It feels automatic. It may feel as though the other person made me do it.
No amount of changing on someone else's part can change us. We are becoming more responsible for our own lives and for our own behavior regardless of others around us. There is liberation in noticing the choice stage. It is tough to follow through on our choices, but when we do,
it is truly a sign of a grown-up.
Then a remarkable thing happens - our self-esteem rises.
"Today, I will pause to notice the choices I have in the moment between someone's action and my reaction."
-TOUCHSTONES, Daily Meditations for Men
The power of choice is always in our hands and will always determine our experience. The good news is you are not the victim of circumstance as you may have once believed.