The Formula that Puts You in Control of Success

What prevents you from achieving the success you want?

Is it a lack of money, free time, or opportunities at work? Have you not achieved your goals because of the economy, what your business colleagues have done (or not done), or the lack of motivation among your employees? Perhaps you place the blame on how you were raised or on your family for not giving you the proper amount and type of support.

If you responded to my question with a laundry list of reasons why you aren’t where you want to be, you’re not alone. Most people automatically find excuses and blame others when things don’t work out the way they want. This seems to be particularly true in the United States, where many people buy into the myth that we are entitled to success and happiness – that someone else should be giving us what we want.

However, if unlimited success is your goal, looking outside of yourself is a strategic error. The most important lesson you must understand that you are 100 percent responsible for your life – the good and the bad.

The formula I like to use to explain this concept is:

E + R = O 
(Events + Responses = Outcome)

The basic idea is that every outcome you experience in life (whether it's success or failure, wealth or poverty, wellness or illness, intimacy or estrangement, joy or frustration) is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event in your life. Likewise, if you want to change the results you get in the future, you must change how you respond to events in your life … starting today.

What Most People Do

When people don’t like the outcomes they are experiencing, most choose to blame the event (E) for their lack of results (O).

In other words, you can blame the economy, the weather, the lack of money, lack of education, racism, gender bias, the current administration in Washington, your wife or husband, your boss's attitude, the lack of support, and so on. If you're a golfer, you've probably even blamed your clubs or the course you’ve played on – but never yourself. This is what most people do.

It’s true that these factors exist and that they impact you. However, if they were the deciding factor in whether someone succeeded or not, nobody would ever succeed. For every reason it's not possible, there are hundreds of people who have faced the same circumstances and succeeded.

The deciding factor in success is not the external conditions and circumstances. It's how you choose to respond (R).

We think limiting thoughts and engage in self-defeating behaviors. We defend our self-destructive habits (such as drinking and smoking) with indefensible logic.

We ignore useful feedback, fail to continuously educate ourselves and learn new skills, waste time on the trivial aspects of our lives, engage in idle gossip, eat unhealthy food, fail to exercise, spend more than we make, fail to tell the truth, don't ask for what we want, and then wonder why our lives aren't working. 

What Successful People Do

Successful people take a different approach to events. They simply change their responses (R) to the events (E) until they get the outcomes (O) they want.

You can change your thinking, change your communication, change the pictures you hold in your head (your images of the world) and you can change your behavior (the things you do). That's all you really have control over anyway.

Unfortunately, most of us are being run by our habits. We get stuck in conditioned responses to our spouses and children, to our work colleagues, to our customers and our clients, to our students, and to the world at large.

You have to gain control of your thoughts, your images, your dreams, daydreams, and your behavior. Everything you think, say, and do need to become intentional and aligned with your purpose, your values, and your goals.

If you don't like your outcomes, change your responses.

The Formula in Action

You don’t have to look far to find examples of how this works: consider the economy.

When the Gulf War broke out, a friend of mine who owns a Lexus dealership in Southern California turned to this formula to guide him through the resulting impact on the economy. People stopped coming in to buy Lexuses, so he knew that his normal response (R) of running newspaper and radio ads wouldn’t be good enough to keep his business afloat. The outcome (O) he was experiencing was a steady decrease of visitors to his showroom, as well as sales.

So they tried a number of new things. Some didn’t work; some did. One of the strategies that worked was driving a fleet of new cars to where the rich people were – the country clubs, the marinas, polo grounds, parties in Beverly Hills and Westlake Village – and inviting them to take a test drive.

Have you ever test-driven a new car and then gotten back into your old car? Suddenly your old car wasn’t good enough – you wanted the new car! The same thing happened for the people who took a Lexus for a spin, and many bought or leased a new car.

By changing their response (R) to an unexpected event (E) – the war -- the dealership eventually got the outcome (O) they wanted … increased sales. In fact, they ended up selling more new cars per week than before the war broke out.

If we all experience the same event, the outcome you get will be totally dependent upon your response to the situation.

Carefully choose how you respond to events – how you choose to interpret events, how you choose to think about and talk about what happened, how you choose to act -- If you want to achieve better outcomes. Remember, you control your destiny … so make it a fantastic one!

Related article:

The 5 Habits of Successful People

How to Meditate for Clarity, Intuition, and Guidance


You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul®and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:


Releasing the Brakes

Release The BrakesHave you ever been driving your car and realized that you'd left the emergency brake on?

Of course. We all have. But when we discover the brake is on -- do we press harder on the gas pedal? Of course not!

We simply release the brake... and with no extra effort we go faster.

Going through life is a lot like driving a car. But unfortunately, most people drive through life with their psychological emergency brake on. They hold on to negative images of themselves... or suffer the effects of highly emotional events they haven't yet released. To cope, they stay in a comfort zone entirely of their own making.

And when they try to achieve their goals, these negative images and preprogrammed comfort zones always cancel out their good intentions—no matter how hard they try.

Call them "blocks" or "limiting beliefs" or "being stuck" -- but these images and past hurts are nothing more than driving through life with the emergency brake on.

Successful people, on the other hand, continually move beyond their comfort zone -- not by using increased willpower, but by replacing their beliefs about themselves and changing their self image.

They release the brakes -- and, just like a car, they instantly go faster.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Think of your comfort zone as a prison you live in – a largely self-created prison. It consists of the collection of can'ts, musts, must nots, and other unfounded beliefs formed from all the negative thoughts and decisions you have accumulated and reinforced during your lifetime.

The good news is that you can change your comfort zone. How? In three different ways:

  1. You can use affirmations and positive self-talk to affirm having what you want, doing what you want, and being the way you want.
  2. You can create powerful and compelling new internal images of having, doing, and being what you want.
  3. You can simply change your behaviors

All three of these approaches will begin to shift you out of your old comfort zone.

Stop Re-Creating The Same Experience Over and Over!

An important concept that successful people understand is that you are never stuck. You just keep re-creating the same experiences over and over by thinking the same thoughts, maintaining the same beliefs, speaking the same words, and doing the same things.

Too often, we get stuck in an endless look of reinforcing behavior, which keep us stuck in a constant downward spiral.

It goes like this: Our limiting thoughts create images in our mind... and those images govern our behavior... which in turn reinforces that limiting thought.

This is known as the Self-Talk Endless Loop.

As long as you keep complaining about your present circumstances, your mind will focus on it. By continually talking about, thinking about, and writing about the way things are, you are continually reinforcing those very same neural pathways in your brain that got you to where you are today. You are continually sending out the same vibrations that will keep attracting the same people and circumstances that you have already created.

To change this cycle, you must focus instead on thinking, talking, and writing about the new reality you want to create. You must FLOOD your unconscious with thoughts, images and ACTION that match your desired reality.

Then suddenly, instead of your outcomes being predetermined by an endless cycle of reinforced self-doubt and self-talk, you're free to pursue your goals with new determination and confidence.

If releasing the brakes is something you need to do, realize that it's difficult to do by yourself.

We need outside influences to break through our habitual ways of thinking and behaving to assist us in restructuring our beliefs, releasing our repressed emotions and connecting with our true selves.

Two of the most powerful methods for doing this are large group awareness trainings and therapy. If I were to attribute my incredible level of success to any one thing, it would be the hundreds of personal development seminars I've attended over the past 40 years.

If you've discovered that you've been recreating the same outcomes, scenarios, experiences and endless loop of not getting what you want, I'd like to help you break free from this downward spiral.

In fact, one of the most important things I do for participants in my Breakthrough to Success training week is to help them identify these "blocks" that govern their behavior -- then replace those blocks with new thoughts, attitudes, beliefs and patterns.

Of course, there are literally hundreds of individuals and organizations that conduct seminars all over the world. Some are better than others, and in my experience, about 20% of them are highly competent and effective.

Visit their websites, call and talk to them, attend their guest events, and then make a decision about which one feels right for you.

The impact in all areas of your life will be incredible.

 Are you "stuck" in this area?

If you need to change your behaviors, create new self-talk, and develop a plan to get what you want from life, I'm happy to help you move beyond your barriers at my powerful Breakthrough to Success program.

You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul®and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: