One of the things I’ve learned, and still practice, in yoga is to be nonreactive. As I practice breathing, relaxing, and letting go while my shoulders are burning and my thigh is yelling at me, I become aware that my mind is more calm and I get a sense of ease, strength, and peace. It can be so easy to have a negative reaction when the teacher calls out a pose I don’t like, or when a sub walks in that I wasn’t expecting, but all that does is make the situation worse. If I change my reaction to these things and make them more positive, or don’t react at all then my outcome is way better.
You choose how you want to respond.
As I take what I’ve learned on my yoga mat and apply it to real life, I realize that everything we experience (good or bad) is because of our reaction or response to it. This same nonreactive principal that I’ve learned in yoga can also be applied to our life. Jack Canfield has a formula that he teaches:
E + R = O (Events + Responses = Outcome)
The idea is that everything you experience is because of how you responded to an earlier event in your life. If you aren’t enjoying the outcomes that you are experiencing right now, there are basically two choices you can make.
1. You can blame the event for the outcome.
There’s a ton of external factors that we can blame. We can blame the economy for not having a job. We can blame our boss or our clients for having a bad day. We can blame the rain for not working out. We can blame our lack of money for not starting our dream business. We can blame a lack of time for eating fast food. Excuses. Excuses. Excuses.
We’ve all done this right? I know I have. Going back to yoga…I was in a workshop last week and I noticed I was making excuses for why I wasn’t getting into a pose.
There’s no doubt that these blame factors exist, but it’s up to us to overcome them. There are tons of people who are still employed and very successful. I see people out walking in the rain all the time. For every impossible thought we have, there are many out there that think it is possible.
2. You can change your responses to the events until you get the outcomes you want.
Can we respond differently to the events that happen? If we get fired, maybe we take the time to educate ourselves and learn a new skill. If the boss is being a hard ass, maybe we have some compassion for him rather than gossiping with other coworkers about how awful he is. He may be having a lot of personal issues at home, or had a father that was hard on him.
We can change our thinking, the way we communicate, and our behavior because really that’s all that we have control over anyway. We don’t necessarily have control over any extremal event. All we have control over is our responses to them!
We tend to get stuck in our habits and the way we respond to our children, our spouses, the traffic, and our bosses. So we must gain control of our thoughts, our behavior, the images we hold in our head, and our dreams.
We need to know what we want, and then everything we think, say, and do needs to align with our goals, our intentions, and our values.
In the words of Jack Canfield: If we all experience the same EVENT, the OUTCOME you get will be totally dependent upon your RESPONSE to the situation.
If you don’t like your outcomes, you must change your responses. It’s that simple!