“When will I ever use this again?”
We all know that question. We thought it a million times in junior high and high school. I know that I said it every day in algebra and trigonometry.
But today I want to share a math formula that you can actually use every day to improve your life. This formula isn’t some new revelation like Einstein’s theories but it is a formula that you are already using every day without realizing it.
The formula is E x P = O
Seems so simple, right? Where here is the explanation:
E stands for “Event”
In any given day you have hundreds of “events”. Most of them are small, some are big, and every once in a while you get one that is a huge, big, deal. In this formula “E” is our constant. You cannot change most of the events that occur in your day. They happen no matter what.
O stand for “Outcome”
I know I’m going out of order here but go with it for a minute. Every event that happens in our day will have an outcome, either good, bad, or neutral. The outcomes (or “O”) of our daily actions will eventually determine our success and growth, or failure and negativity. Think how successful you could be if you were able to determine the outcome of your daily events. The good news is that you can control the outcomes, as soon as you know the variable in the equation, “P”
P stands for “Perception”
Every time an “event” happens in your day you have an opportunity to react and respond. Most of us will respond according to how we perceive the event. If we hear that someone at work has been fired, we will look at it positively if we didn’t like the person or negatively if it was a friend. It is the whole glass half-full or half-empty debate. The truth is that the event was the same no matter what you do, but you could perceive it in different ways based on your emotions or feelings towards the event. So “P”, or perception is the variable in the equation. It is the factor that changes from person to person; and you can control it! And because you can control it, you can control the outcome of your day. If your perception of an even is positive, the outcome will be positive. If your perception is negative, you will have a negative outcome. Its simple math, right?
A Personal Example
Let’s think of an event that could demonstrate the point. Perhaps tomorrow at work you ask a question of a co-worker and they snap at you, making you feel stupid. You now have a choice. You can perceive that as, “Wow, that guy is such a jerk. See if I ever do anything for him.” Or you could choose to say, “Wow, he must be under a lot of stress or have something going on at home. I wonder what I could do to cheer him up.” In the first scenario you would be likely to go back to your desk and brood over the jerky co-worker and look for an opportunity to spite him as revenge. In the second scenario you would be more likely to be empathetic and maybe even do something to help him have a better day. One small decision to adjust your perception will produce an outcome that will make your life at work so much better in the future.
I have found this to be the case with my children. Sometimes my oldest son will get grouchy and overly dramatic about not wanting to do his homework. We’re talking to the point of yelling and crying over it. As my patience wears thin I usually get upset and tell him to stop whining and just deal with it. One day he was going through the same thing and we were having our same argument about homework when he broke down and told me he was being bullied on the bus rides home.
It broke my heart.
He was coming home all upset inside and just wanting to curl up in a ball in his room and then I was getting on his case about doing his homework right away. So on top of dealing with a bully on the bus, he was dealing with a “bully” at home because of my perception that he was just being lazy. I wish I could go back and choose a better perception of why he might be acting that way. I could have given him a much better outcome at home.
So the way to improve the outcome of your day and enjoy greater happiness is to make a choice to perceive everything in a positive way. As the Monty Python boys sang, “Always look on the bright side of life.” The message being that you have an opportunity to choose positivity with every event in your day. It may take some practice but it is worth it. The more you do it the more you will realize that there is always a silver lining or an optimistic way to look at things. More importantly, you will find that you are having happier, less stressful days and a lot better relationships.
If you change you “P” you will have a much better “O”
Events x Perception = Outcome.
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