You Get What You Put In: Events Reactions and Outcomes

Let’s start with a bit of algebra. Even if you’re absolutely familiar with this simple mathematics, I urge you to still read this.

X +Y = Z. It’s a very simple equation. X and Y are variables, if changed will impact what Z is. Assume that X is a fixed number, for example X is 10 and cannot be changed. Now assume you want your Z to be a 20. Therefore all you would do is make Y equal to 10 also. Therefore

X + Y = Z
10 + 10 = 20

Simple, right? Now continue to assume that X is fixed to be 10. So, what does it take for Z  to be a zero? Well:

x + y = z
10 + y = 0
Therefore if y = -10
10 -10 = 0

x plus y is z


So now you’re wondering what the hell is this dude talking about on a life improvement blog?! Well, it’s simple, I want to introduce you to another equation. This equation is the essence of your life. This equation is the truth that determines your outcome in life, what you’re able to achieve, and the quality of your relationships with other people.

Event Plus Reaction is Outcome

E + R = O

Write this equation down. Remember it. E = Event, R= Reaction, and O= Outcome. Event + Reaction = Outcome.

An event is a fixed item. It cannot be changed. An event is your situation, your experience, or anything that is happening in your life right now or has happened in the past. The reaction is your reaction to the event. It is how you respond to any situation, experience or anything that is happening in your life!

Finally, the outcome is the result. It is the output or the consequence of the reaction and the event combined.

Going back to our original equation of Z + Y = Z, remember that we fixed the X value. In this case the event is a fixed value.

Also remember that to give Z a certain value, the only thing we could control was the Y. Well in this case to give a certain outcome, the only thing that we can control is the reaction.

It really is that simple. I’m not sure about you, but the more I thought about this when I first heard of this, it just brought a whole new prescriptive to the way I though and the way I felt. It brought in a lot of lose ends together and tied them up into this neat little package.

The only thing we can control is the reaction. This alone will determine the outcome. You must remember that the event is a fixed value, it is out of your control. Whatever lead to that event is no longer in your control either. So because E+R=O, the only thing that will impact the outcome is your reaction. A positive, powerful, peaceful, actionable reaction will create an outcome that reflects this reaction.

But the problem in life is that we tend to get hung up on the event. We wish we can change a certain event or we wish certain events never happened to us, and we continue to idle on this thought. We let these feelings linger on, without changing our reaction to the event. Even though we desperately want a certain outcome. This is the core of the victim mentality.

We carry the victim mentality with us, continuing to think about the event. But we escape the victim mentality when we empower ourselves to have a reaction. But the reaction can be negative. Just as 10 -10 = zero. Even worse 10-15 = -5. A bad reaction is more detrimental to our outcome.

So that is why it is so important to react positively in any scenario. Our reaction determines everything.

Are your typical reactions the following?

  • Arguing back or becoming defensive
  • Continuously pondering on how you could have changed the original event or your situation
  • Blaming other people for the event or situation

Or are your reactions the following?

  • Explaining perspective so that those that need to understand, do understand?
  • Instead of thinking about the event, you start taking actionable steps
  • Instead of blaming other people, you think about how you can make an impact and alter your situation
  • Listening, really listening to the people around you to gain their perspective
  • Using new perspective or learning to try and improve the outcome

There’s a stark contrast between the two sets of reactions. One is negative, these only lead to negative or valueless outcomes. The other set are positive reactions which lead to action and better outcomes.

Owning and enjoying the process is also a critical factor. Remember that the reaction is your own process. It is your way of thinking things through, developing feelings, taking action. How you do all of these is the process, in other words, your journey. Once again, I remind you that the you need to be independent of the outcome.

A bad reaction is more detrimental to our outcome

Another way to think about this is that outcome is the future event. Just as you need to react independently of the original event, you must always be outcome independent also. Control your reaction to the original event, control your action for the future event.

Never at any point in time get hung up on the outcome. Even if you struggle with achieving your desired outcome at first. Eventually you know that as long as your thoughts, feelings and actions are aligned, and you know that determination, grit (hard work) and persistence are all you need to continue carrying you through, then you will achieve your outcome.

But it can and normally does take failure and learning from failure (once again  your reaction) to eventually make it.

But what if I don’t make it? Then you need to read this! In short, do not make it about the destination. Then no matter what the destination looks like, you would have been more fulfilled by the journey anyway.

Action comes after Reaction

Remember that Feelings and Thoughts lead to Action. This is the key process in your journey to truly transform yourself.

Thoughts and Feelings Eventually Lead to Action

More than just this though, when you align your feelings and thoughts powerfully you get this immense urge to take action. This is determination. The determination let’s you continue with actual action. Once you start taking action you then overcome any challenges through grit and hard work (relentless action). Past that point, you continue to learn or add to the process, and therefore you persist with more action (persistent action).

Sometimes that’s all you need. Just action. You no longer need your thoughts or feelings.

In fact these thoughts and feelings can get in they way. Especially when procrastination, negative thoughts, fear of the unknown, and feelings of doubt start to arise. In these cases your positive thoughts and feelings that lead you to your initial step do not raise their voice enough. So instead of fighting it, it’s best you just shut all that down and just follow process. You take small actionable steps to continue the process and the journey. You let your body go into auto pilot and hopefully by then you’ve solidified your habits so that you can continue to act.

Action requires determiation grit and persistence



The only thing in life you can control is you. In fact the only thing you control is your reaction to any situation. I want you to remember this equation and hopefully it has the same profound impact as it did to me: E + R = O, where E is event, R is your reaction to the Event, and O is the outcome that is created through your reaction. The significance of this equation is it’s simplicity to show and remind you that your reaction is foremost the most important thing that leads to certain outcomes in your life.

Having said that though, if you can align your thoughts, feelings, and actions to be strictly positive, then the outcome, in theory is also positive. Sometimes though it isn’t! Failure does happen, and is common. So the only thing you can continue to do is, once again, control your reaction.

In other words you re-align your thoughts and your feelings. You create determination. From this you derive small actionable steps that lead to even bigger action. You then continue to use grit to overcome other challenges. Finally through learning and persistence you start seeing the outcomes that work in your favour.

So, your actions for today are:

  1. Create a positive reaction to you situation or event that has happened in your past
  2. Recognise your self-destructive behaviours and thoughts
  3. Start taking positive measures and controlling how you start thinking about things
  4. Align your thoughts and feelings that eventually create a strong urge for you to start taking action
  5. Recognise that sometimes you just need grit, hardwork, determination to continue with the process
  6. Above all, enjoy the journey and learn to be ‘event’ or ‘outcome’ independent


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