While reading Jack Canfield’s Success Principles, I read the chapter on E + R = O. Here is my own interpretation of the formula.
E + R = O stands for Event + Response = Outcome.
A lot of us debate about whether we believe in fate, destiny, luck, chance. Many say what happens, happens. You cannot change God’s will. That it is all a matter of Luck- good or bad. While on the other hand, many, the “motivators” and “trainers” included will tell us life and all that happens is directly in our control. That all that we get is all that we wish, think and desire; that our fate, our destiny is in our hands. They say, “khud hi ko kar bulund itna ki taqdeer banana se pehle khuda tujhse poonchhe, ki bata teri raza kya hain”.
This formula E + R = O has helped me understand all this in simple terms. Events, all that “happens” is really not controllable; we cannot control many “happenings” or events. What we can control, however, is the Response. It takes simple, basic knowledge of mathematics to know that different value for Response, when added to the same value for Event, will yield a different value for Outcomes.
Many of us often blame our circumstances or our family, the society, the culture for what we are. “If only my grandfather would have done this, or not done that, we would have been in such a better position.” “If only my father would have…” “If only my mother….” And so on and so forth.
The question we must ask ourselves is, “what am I doing with my situation?” and that answer will decide what happens as a consequence or Outcome.
In the Bhagvad Geeta, the Lord says, “Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana; Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani”.
Translated, this means, “You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of actions; Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.”
The Lord asks us to keep on performing our duties- our karma. And that is the Response to the Events happening around us, with us, to us.
The Events are God manifesting to us. He has sent us on this earth, and given us the intelligence, the conscience, to choose our Responses- what we do with and to Him. And that will decide what happens as a result- the Outcomes.
If we then, want to choose the Outcomes, we need to choose and control our Responses- Karmanye Vadhikaraste.
Thus, if the Event “is” then the choice of our Responses (and actions) will yield us whatever we want to do, be or have.
It is the karma that decides the results, the Outcomes; the karma is our “doing” and hence, the results, our phal is controlled by us. If we have chosen to act in a certain manner, take certain decisions, that choice will decide the outcomes.
If I want a certain Outcome, Result, I need to choose (and perform) the Karma in accordance with the situation (Event).
All Glory belongs to Him…