You just received a notice that your company is transferring you and your family to a foreign country.
You just became a grandparent.
Your house burned down.
Someone you love has died.
Your spouse just won the lottery.
As each of you (some 3,000 and counting!) read these statements, a completely different mental picture will emerge accompanied by a set of unique emotions. Some of you will see these as negative events while others will experience them as positive and welcomed possibilities... or some combination of the two.
All events are neutral. We are the ones who give them meaning. And each of us will give the same event a slightly different meaning. Our responses to situations in our lives are a result of the assumptions we make about these neutral events. Those responses determine our outcomes. Of course the circumstances surrounding each of these events certainly have an impact on how we feel about them but again, we give them meaning.
Take for example, "You just became a grandparent." Some of you dread that day (and the title!) Some of you having been wishing for it for years and are counting the days until you hear the news. If we just became a grandparent because our 14-year-old daughter announced she was pregnant... does that make a difference? Certainly. And the difference it makes depends 100% on your belief about whether that fact is a good thing or a bad thing. Certainly there are cultures all around the world that interpret and see that fact very differently. The reaction you have and the actions you take will be based on your perception of what the event means. Your outcome will be a direct result of that. If you are wishing for a different outcome in some area of your life, remember this formula: E+A+R=O.
Events + Assumptions + Response = Outcome
Assuming you cannot change the events and you are not satisfied with your outcomes... the only leverage you do have centers on your assumptions, beliefs, and responses. We have control over these and so there is great value in at least questioning our assumptions and beliefs to determine if they are the only truth we can hold... as well as considering different responses to produce an outcome that is more to our liking.