Bob Tamasy: As Simple As E + R = O

Monday, July 7, 2014 - by Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy
Bob Tamasy

Being a longtime, devoted Ohio State fan, I was interested to read consultants Tim and Brian Kight have been working with the Buckeye football team to help foster consistent success both on field and off. An “equation” they use caught my attention, one anyone could find useful – even those who detest the Scarlet and Gray.

This is not a mathematical construct, but rather an easy-to-learn acronym for addressing circumstances people encounter in everyday life: E + R = O. This stands for Event + Response = Outcome. 

This seems straight-forward enough. Many events in our lives are beyond our control. But we usually can determine our response to the events, good or bad. The combination of the two leads to outcomes that can significant impact the future.

Joni Eareckson Tada is a classic example of how E+R=O can work in a very positive manner. One day as an energetic, healthy teenager, Joni dove into a lake, unaware how shallow it was. Her neck broke, leaving her a quadriplegic. That was, for purposes of this discussion, her “event.” 

Joni candidly writes her initial response was despair and suicidal thoughts. Being paralyzed, she was unable to act upon her desperate feelings, and over time accepted her circumstances. She drew upon her trust in God, turning to Him out of helplessness and resolving to do all she could to make lemonade out of the lemon life had served her. With the help of family members and friends, she studied the Bible, prayed, sought counsel, underwent rehabilitative treatments, and began exploring skills and activities that didn’t require the use of hands or legs. These steps comprised her “response.”

Her “outcome”? Through faith, determination and just plain hard work, Joni honed her innate talents to become an internationally known author, painter, speaker and singer. She founded a multi-faceted ministry, Joni & Friends, dedicated to serving individuals and families confronted with many forms of disability and suffering. And she’s been happily married more than 30 years. 

Most of us, of course, won’t experience events as extreme as hers. But whether it’s a screaming child in the grocery store; an irate customer that spews all manner of venom without cause; a driver making an obscene gesture on the roadway; or something that suddenly turns a well-planned schedule upside down, how we respond to those events will shape the outcomes, sometimes long-term.

We’ve all heard of people overcoming negative circumstances not of their doing to achieve greatness. Some of the strongest, long-term marriages are those in which both spouses resolved to weather major struggles. And success in athletics, of course, is often predicated on responding to great adversity. 

The Bible also speaks eloquently about how outcomes are shaped by our response to events. For instance, James 1:2-4 urges followers of Christ to “Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” This doesn’t mean being happy about hardships, but we can feel confident they will be used for our ultimate good.

When wronged, often our first impulse is to retaliate, but Jesus taught a very different response to such events. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them” (Luke 6:29). Rather than escalating the conflict, Jesus was proposing a more peaceable, conciliatory reaction. 

Negative feelings we harbor long after adverse events have passed can prove harmful for ourselves, as well as relationships with others. So the Scriptures advise us to release those emotions and their damaging impact. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

So remember E+R=O. The next time you encounter a troublesome event, try to keep a proper perspective. How you respond could greatly affect the ultimate outcome.

* * * 

Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, a former newspaper editor and magazine editor. He is presently vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit focused on mentoring and coaching business and professional leaders. Bob has written hundreds of magazine articles, and has authored, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” “Business at Its Best,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” He edits a weekly business meditation, “Monday Manna,” which is translated into more than 20 languages and distributed via email around the world by CBMC International. He also posts regularly on two blogs,, and He can be emailed at

4th Annual Keyboards At Christmas Offered At Brainerd Baptist Church

The fourth annual Keyboards At Christmas will be offered on  Dec. 12, at 3 p.m.  and  Dec. 13, at 5 p.m. at the  Brainerd Baptist Church sanctuary. Using six grand pianos, a pipe organ, and more than a  dozen pianists, Keyboards at Christmas is a celebration  of the birth of Christ featuring traditional sacred Christmas  ... (click for more)

Bob Tamasy: Caffeine, Coffee Cups And Christmas

So, here we are on the cusp of the Christmas season, and Starbucks is providing coffee cups in traditional red and green, but with nary a snowflake, reindeer, snowman, Santa Claus or Christmas tree. A stark red cup featuring nothing but the famous Starbucks logo in green. We all knew that in these days of “happy holidays,” this famous purveyor of all things espresso and latte ... (click for more)

Darrius Starling, 24, Shot Twice In Miller Park

Darrius Starling, 24, was shot twice in Miller Park on Tuesday afternoon. Chattanooga Police responded to the 900 block of Market Street on the report of a disorder between two people. Chattanooga Police then learned that both parties had left the scene.    Starling was located at the corner of Broad Street and 10th Street suffering from two gunshot wounds. He ... (click for more)

Judge Denies Motion By Walker County To Delay Closing Of Hutcheson Hospital

A bankruptcy judge in Atlanta on Tuesday denied a motion by Walker County, Ga., is asking a delay in closing Hutcheson Medical Center and laying off employees. Judge Paul Bonapfel said he appreciated the position of Walker County, but he said he would not interfere with the business decision made by the trustees appointed to operate the Fort Oglethorpe hospital. He also said ... (click for more)

A Thankful List

David Jeremiah said it best, that we have a tendency to concentrate on the things we don’t have rather than what God has already blessed us with.  Perhaps, he said, it is because there is not enough parchment available in this world to record all God’s bountiful blessings should we try to list them. This Thanksgiving let us gather our family close to us, whisper a prayer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Don’t Mess With ‘Skunk’

One year ago today riots broke out anew in Ferguson, Mo., after a grand jury refused to indict Darren Wilson, a white 28-year-old police officer who shot and killed a black 18-year-old, Michael Brown. The altercation took place on Aug. 9, and video cameras later showed the black teenager robbing a store and assaulting the shopkeeper. After the unarmed Brown was shot, for ... (click for more)