In the last few blogs we’ve examined the value and importance of “meaning”.SECRET (1)

We’ve asked:

What is the meaning of life?

What is the meaning of relationships?

What is the meaning of the priorities that guide our decision making?

I believe that the decisions we make and the actions we take are inextricably intertwined with the meaning that we give to them.

As we continue our discussion, let’s look at the triggers of our life and how they can affect the outcome of our lives.

So, what is a trigger?

A trigger is any event in life that prompts change. The direction of change can either move you faster in a given direction, slow you down, cause you to take a right or left turn, or prompt you to make a U-turn. Triggers can be anything from an idea, an event or even a relationship. The better we understand the trigger the more effective we will be in responding to it.

How we understand triggers and then chose to respond are key determinants of our pathway of life.

There is a formula we can use to process those triggers which are both meaningful and us. Who wins the Super Bowl is a major social event, yet not really a meaningful trigger in our life. How we chose to respond to the game will most likely not impact the direction of our life. Here is the formula:

Event + Response = Outcome

Seems pretty simple, right?

Not so fast!

This formula has some assumptions behind it; therefore, it is also important to examine those assumptions.

My initial exposure to this formula came in a newspaper article about my favorite football team, The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

Preseason expectations were running high when the first of a long string of “big problems” showed up. Braxton Miller, quarterback and two time Big Ten offensive player of the year, re-injured his shoulder and was out for the season. Then the Buckeyes, who were ranked in the top 10 preseason, immediately they dropped out of college rankings altogether. The unknown backup quarterback JT Barrett was just that, unknown. But when Barrett went out for the season due to ankle injury the team had to rest its hopes on a third string quarterback by the name of Cardale Jones. In spite of the season’s challenges, The Buckeyes went on to win the National Championship. How? The Buckeyes understood their outcome relied solely on their response to challenging event triggers.

When a trigger shows up in the form of a challenging event what do you do?

How do you react?

How do you respond?

In the formula, the “event” element is the trigger.

We’ve talked before about how important our response is to the triggers of real life. Triggers, events, provide the opportunity to respond to both the meaningful opportunities presented to us and the meaning inherent in them. It is our response based on our understanding and interpretation of the opportunity and our own unique DNA of Meaning that will guide the outcomes. So outcomes are the result of our response to the triggering events of life.

SECRETThere is much more to be said about all of this. But today, perhaps our best action plan is to reflect on the current events, the meaningful action triggers we are facing today. It looks like: In light of my current challenge, and how I understand it, what should I do? How should I respond? Can I refrain from just reacting? Can I lead an “outcomes” based life?


Let’s also remember the promise of Psalm 16:11:

You have made known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.


Doing life with Trusted Advice,


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