I’m a sucker for anything and everything related to leadership, personal development and human behavior.  Articles, white papers, quotes, videos – you name it, I’m there.  The great part is that most concepts related to these fields can be applied to any situation. I know, I know…nerd alert!

Well, you can imagine my excitement when I received an email from a colleague with “Leadership  – very interesting” in the subject line.  The article she sent me was called The R Factor – Maximize the one thing you control.  The concept was developed by a man named Timothy Kight, and it’s a framework and process used to focus the way you think, make decisions, and take action.

Although this falls under the guise of leadership, it’s a practical idea that can be applied to absolutely any life event.  And that’s why I’m going to share more!

The R Factor is based on a simple equation:

E + R = O
Event + Response = Outcome

Mr. Kight suggests that success is not based on the things that happen to us but rather how we choose to respond.  We don’t control the E or the O, we only control the R.  And people who achieve success choose the better R’s. 

When I first read the article, I thought about how this is easy to say but hard to do.  In a perfect world, we would all be able to respond to the things life throws at us with patience, a sense of calm, and a reasonable attitude.  But we don’t live in a perfect world!  That’s where the following seven tips come into play.  And because each one ties back to the “simple” equation above, I found it all very easy to grasp…in theory at least!

  1. Pause between the E and the O.  Essentially, always stop to think about what response will give you the O you want.
  2. The R is most important when the E is most difficult.  Rise up to the challenge of a big E with a big R.  That’s the only way to get through it.
  3. When your R isn’t working, don’t blame the E.  If your R isn’t giving you the O you want, be agile and change your R.
  4. Don’t let the rate of change in the E exceed the rate of change in your R.  Things are constantly changing.  People change, situations change.  And if you aren’t able to keep up with the rate of change happening around you, you’re in trouble.  Don’t waste precious time and energy resisting the inevitable.  Just make sure your R will carry you forward as quickly as needed.
  5. Understand that your R has a cumulative impact.  The more you engage in a particular R, the greater it’s impact over time (for better or for worse).  Know that in many cases your R is going to have a long term impact.  Success is not an overnight sensation – it’s a process.
  6. Your R is an E for other people.  Your response (attitude and behavior) has a profound impact on the people around you.  Essentially, your R becomes everyone else’s E.  Try to create great E’s for others, and they will do the same for you.
  7. Manage your Focus Frame.  In order to maximize your R factor, be sure to adjust the lens through which you see the world.  Successful people are able to re-focus and re-frame based on the given situation, which then enables them to chose the best R possible.

Pretty cool, huh?  I especially love # 5 and 6.  I know my R’s have a long lasting and widespread impact (again, for better or for worse), but I seldom think about it all in this way.  Sometimes the simplest way of thinking things through is the best!

Thoughts?  Any tips for how you control your R’s (especially when it isn’t easy to do so in a calm, cool and collected way)?

By Parita

18 thoughts on “The One Thing You Can Control”
  1. I couldn’t agree more! It’s been a learning process but over the years I’ve definitely learned to try and be act more rationally and collected when the unexpected happens. With so many things out of our control, why not focus our energies on all that we can change. Pausing in between is what works for me best- I’ve made my fair of bad decisions purely due to frustration/anger but fortunately that’s all in the past 🙂

  2. Awesome post Parita. I have always known about this simple concept that you can only control your response, but the way it is presented here is logical and cool. I loved No.6 where your R becomes someone else’s E. Viewing it from that light is profound for me personally. I have never consciously tried to create better E’s for people and this moves me to a conscious paradigm of E’s, R’s and O’s. Thanks once again for introducing Mr.Knight and his work.

  3. That’s really interesting. I love learning about things like that. It’s a good perspective to have. Like your response being an event for someone else… you never frame it up that way!

  4. I thinks there’s a similar quote about life being 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond. I ttoally agree. You can’t control external factors, but you can ALWAYS control how you react.

  5. Love this! Thanks for sharing, Parita!

    I’ve always been a big believer in the idea that our response to situations is the most critical thing, but it’s nice to see it laid out in such a straightforward manner. It’s not always easy to respond in the best way, thanks to the influence of emotions, but it gets easier with a little practice… I’ve been doing my best to let go of the idea of perfect outcomes, and that kind of easygoing approach has made all the difference.

  6. i like this a lot. it directly relates to that inspiration quote, I am the decisive element, that i posted a few weeks ago. too many times people wait on things to change and blame their environment, their boss, their spouse, whomever. it may take longer but attitude is everything.

  7. I love the 6th point, that R is an E for other people. I think a lot of people don’t think about it that way, which leads to miscommunications and a lot of not thinking before acting. Have a great weekend!

  8. Good article.. I usually don’t respond the way I should when I’m angry… but many times I just get quiet, this way I avoid saying things I don’t mean. Will keep this in mind. 🙂

  9. It is very interesting . I heard about it but I never paid attention closely .
    good job . Keep writing

  10. Really interesting…I am terrible at responding too quickly and in the wrong way and then feeling bad about it (inevitably). I need to pay attention more and react less….

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