Success Coach Says This Formula Can Create Better Outcomes

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Do you ever feel stuck in a rut, where you’re simply not getting what you want out of life? It may be time to rethink your strategy, according to success coach and author Jack Canfield.

Canfield was one of the driving forces behind the series that sparked a cultural phenomenon, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and he’s more than familiar with the principles of success — and failure. (After all, Chicken Soup was turned down 144 times before it was actually published.) In his book Success Principles, Canfield outlines what it takes to get what you want out of life, and, as he explains on OWN’s “SuperSoul Sunday,” there’s one basic principle at the heart of it all.

“The first principle in the book, I think, is the most important one. It’s the fundamental bedrock,” Canfield says. “It’s called: Take 100 percent responsibility for your life and your results.”

To understand what it means to actually do this, Canfield suggests thinking of this principle as a mathematical formula.

E + R = O

Events + Response = Outcome

Most people, Canfield says, tend of focus on outcomes — your business isn’t doing well, your friend won’t talk to you, you were late to an appointment. What we tend to blame in these cases are various events. The economy is affecting your business. Gossip is interfering with your friendships. Traffic made you late.

As Canfield explains, you’re overlooking how much your own response to the event plays a role in the outcome.

“What creates the outcome is my response to previous events or to current events,” he says.

To see this E + R = O formula in action, Canfield says to imagine an event in which your partner forgets your birthday.

“Most people would [respond], ‘Oh, I feel bad because that means my husband doesn’t love me,'” Canfield says. “You could say, ‘Someone who loves me forgot my birthday. Now I’m in concern, not feeling bad.'”

That changed response could lead to a better outcome. For example, instead of getting into a fight with your partner due to your “feeling bad,” perhaps your concern leads you to have a more productive discussion. Ultimately, Canfield says that the “R” in the equation is a critical component to success.

“We have choices about responses,” he says.

Also on HuffPost: How to prevent your missteps from blocking your success

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Faith Nouri is licensed to practice law in both the U.S. and Canadian Federal Courts. Ms. Nouri is an attorney at law in California, and a Barrister & Solicitor in British Columbia, Canada.