The Law Of Response and Outcome

A New Approach To A New Life

The Law Of Response and Outcome. Graphic

Ben thought he could walk on water!

Introducing The Law Of Response and Outcome

The basis of the law of response and outcome is that the outcomes that you experience are determined by your responses to the events in your life. 

Lessons from a Labrador

Ben's experiences of response and outcome.

Our dog Ben had led a sheltered a life. In fact for the first few years of his life, with his previous owner, he spent most of his time in doors. Once a day he was allowed out and he ran wild on a small piece of land adjacent to the owner's house.

Ben had no sense of place or space, and led a life lacking in training and discipline. His experience of life reflected his upbringing - limited!

Ben's owner was ill equipped to care for a lively Labrador puppy and eventually allowed him to be rehoused with a new owner [my son] who had understanding and experience of caring for a dog.

Ben was so excited at his new found freedom and all the exciting possibilities that were now opening up for him. He was so excited that he rushed frantically and with great enthusiasm into every new situation with limited understanding of the consequences and outcomes of his responses.

The picture above shows Ben seeing water in a lake for the first time. With typical Ben enthusiasm he thought it would be fun to walk on the water...

Ben had to learn a whole new set of skills about how things in his life worked, and to make the connection between response and outcome.

His learning of these new skills didn't happen over night, it took Ben's new owner 6-12 months to train him.

Resolutions, aspirations and wishful thinking

Wishful Thinking. Graphic

At time of writing we are entering a new year which is traditionally a time of making resolutions to change our behaviour and improve the quality of our lives.

And yet powerful as this motivation is, it remains an aspiration, a figment of wishful thinking without a clear focal point for personal action together with the steps to make it happen.

The law of response and outcome provides that focus and can be very simply expressed as:

    The outcomes that you experience are determined by your responses to the events in your life.

    This can be expressed as: 

    Outcome = Event x Response

    The strength and quality of your response is determined by the skills and the experience you bring to it.

    The stronger your response - the better the outcome

The cumulative effect of these responses has a compounding effect on your life.

Are you are ready to move beyond aspiration and wishful thinking? If so, I have two questions for you:

  1. Have you made that fundamental connection between response and outcome?
  2. Do you want to learn the skills that will improve your ability to respond to the events in your life in the most effective way?

How Your Brain Gets Hijacked

Thinking Fast And Slow. Graphic

In his seminal book "Thinking Fast and Slow" Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, presents decades of research to help us understand what really goes on inside our heads when we are making decisions.

There are two systems in your brain which are constantly in conflict for control of your behaviour and actions.

  • System 1 Thinking = impulsive, automatic, and intuitive - and it accounts for 98% of all your thinking.
  • System 2 Thinking = thoughtful, deliberate, and calculating - this accounts for just 2% of your thinking.

We are hardwire to respond with System 1 thinking. These instinctive responses can serve us well in a "fight or flight" situation but the majority of the time this does not apply.

Immediate Action To Stop Your Brain Getting Hijacked

How To Stop Your Brain Getting Hijacked. Graphic

Strictly speaking you can't stop your brain getting hijacked.

Your Basal Ganglia [survival instinct aka the reptile brain] and your Amygdala [emotional centre] are just doing their jobs - keeping you safe and reproducing.

What matters is how you respond to these instinctive reactions.

  • If you don't take action to deal with these automatic reactions you will be at the mercy of your primal emotions - anger, frustration, anxiety, bitterness, desire for revenge and a need to be in control.
  • The effect of these emotions will be to cause anxiety and panic attacks, angry outbursts, verbally and/or physically aggressive behaviour, all of which will not help you and will likely cause you and others hurt and damage.
  • You may feel temporary relief from indulging these reactions but they solve nothing and the overall effect is counter-productive.

There are 2 key points you need to understand:

[1] Awareness that you are not your thoughts

In dealing with our instinctive and reactive thoughts, I have found that there are four stages: awareness of our thoughts; understanding our thoughts; accepting our thoughts; and, living with our thoughts.

[2] Awareness that this too shall pass

Years ago before I knew anything about mindfulness I did discover the truth of the mythical  “this too will pass” story when I was in senior management in a very stressful environment.

I realised that angry and defensive states arose automatically but if I just sat with them and observed them, without engaging with them for about 24 hours, and reminded myself that this too will pass, they did just that. I was then able to exercise clarity and to manage and do my job to best effect.

    Immediate Action To Stop Brain Hijack

    (1) STOP! Say nothing. Do nothing. Focus all of your attention on your breathing - notice and feel the sensation of your in-breath and out-breath - focus on 10 cycles of breaths

    (2) FOCUS 100% on NOW, the present moment.

    (3) ACCEPT what is happening and how you feel about it NOW and say: "I accept this situation... I accept that I am feeling...."

4 Steps To Applying The Law Of Response and Outcome

The 4 key steps below will improve and enhance your ability to engage your System 2 thinking and respond to events in the most creative and resourceful ways.

The first two steps are fundamental to applying the law of response and outcome.

[1] Can you stop thinking?

How To Stop Thinking. Graphic

Can you:

  • Witness or observe (without narrative or analysis) the recurring or autonomic nature of your thoughts and feelings.
  • Watch how your very own inner "personal-map-of-reality" filters your interpretation of your experience.
  • See how you become immersed in and identified with your thoughts and feelings - and how this dictates your responses.
  • Stop thinking –  turn your thoughts off - at will.

The practice of mindfulness is a powerful life skill, as it reduces stress and it dramatically enhances your capacity for adaptive and holistic thinking - necessary qualities in mastering the art of how to think effectively.

[2] Do you know how to think?

How To Think. Graphic

Can you think critically - deliberately and systematically processing information so that you can make better decisions and generally understand things better?

  • Are you focused on how to think not what to think?
  • Do you have a strategic mindset that is focused on the most efficient thinking process to achieve a result?
  • Do you know how to apply the most appropriate cognitive processes to the task in hand?

Our brains process and organize information in a variety of ways. We have the capability for a wide range of thinking processes but these are skills based and need to be learned and developed.

The following two steps will accelerate your progress with the law of response and outcome.

[3] What is your core desire?

Success Secret. Graphic
  • Why are you here?
  • What is your life purpose?
  • What is your direction of travel?
  • Every life decision you take, every choice that you make will either take you one step close to or one step further away from your life purpose.

If you knew you were going to die tonight and you were given a few minutes to reflect before that happened, what would you say was the meaning of your life?

[4] What is your point of focus?

Point Of Focus. Graphic
  • Your point of focus is either helping you or hindering you.
  • It’s a binary choice.
  • Is your unconscious point of focus on what you don’t want?

Discovering what you really want and focusing on it saves you endless confusion and wasted energy.

    Contrary to the common belief that major life decisions shape our future, it’s the small, often unnoticed choices that cumulatively steer our lives.

    These moments determine our positioning and available options, influencing our ability to make sound decisions.

    Shane Parrish

Feeling Stuck With The Law Of Response and Outcome?

Feeling Stuck. Graphic

Here are three common scenarios of how and why we can feel stuck together with experience based suggestions and resources for dealing with them.

The Wilderness Years - 3 Keys To An Exit

The Wilderness Years. Graphic

The wilderness years can be described as any lengthy time, longer than a year, that is spent aimlessly; without an immediate purpose, or without a current goal.

As a place, the wilderness is a region that is uncultivated and uninhabited by humans.

The internal psychological, emotional and spiritual landscape of the wilderness state is one of being unable to find one's way, of aloneness, bewilderment, confusion and disconnection.

This article tells the original story of the wilderness years and takes a look at some of the key insights from that story, plus 3 keys  to an exit from the wilderness years which are based on personal experience.

Lost In Transition - Lost, Stuck & Going Round In Circles

Lost In Transition. Graphic

There is an important distinction between the events, situations and circumstances that are imposed on you and your inner response to these things which is often referred to as "transition".

Change is an external event or situation that happens to you, and often that is imposed upon you.

Transition is the internal process that you have to go through as you make your readjustment and realignment to the new realities.

The purpose of this article is to set out a framework for understanding what is happening to you and to go beyond the circumstantial changes and to address the inner psychological and emotional impacts and how you can deal with those as well.

The additional objective is to offer a range of practical and proven resources to empower you to cope with these hard times.

Recognising Limbo As A Stage Of Transition

Limbo As A Stage Of Transition. Graphic

Limbo was first recorded in the 14th Century and referred to as a place bordering on hell.

Quite frankly that's not a bad definition as that is exactly how it can feel when you are in an uncertain situation that you cannot control and in which you can see no progress or improvement - for a long time. 

It's a feeling of being stuck and it can be the cause of intense frustration and feelings of hopelessness, misery and despair.

Limbo is a situation in which nothing happens or changes for a long period of time, and it is difficult to make decisions or know what to do, often because you are waiting for something else to happen first.

    How you have ended up getting stuck is of far less consequence than the value of the lessons to be learnt while you are there.


Concerning Choice

One foot in front of the other. Unconscious, and unrecognizably blind. And then again.

And again. Until those few steps become a habitual march to somewhere you never set out to be.

What on earth are you doing here, on earth?

[Video is 2 mins - watch on full screen]

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The 3 Keys To Applying The Law of Response and Outcome

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