Corona-crisis - why Cause trumps Effect

Domino effect representing cause and effect
Posted on: Saturday 28, March 2020
Category: Thought Leadership

None of us would have guessed the shocking and sudden effect of economic fallout caused by whole nations suddenly being forced into lockdown to check the Coronavirus crisis. We are all left with trying to figure out what is the new normal. Therefore, this blog explores the law of Cause and Effect and how standing in 'Cause', trumps 'Effect' by either boosting your ability to bounce back into success, or nosedive you into being reactive.

As a leader, it will be crucial how you show up for yourself and for others too.

We probably have all had the sense that we live in changing and peculiar times of increasing ups-and-downs, risk, complexity and uncertainty. Many people have cited that a new political-eco-social world is emerging that will 'change the rules'.
But, none of us would have guessed the massive sudden economic domino effect or chain reaction caused by this crisis and many nations forced into lockdown to check the Coronavirus pandemic!

One thing is for sure, though, paraphrasing a thought-leader friend of mine, Chris Harding - 'we will all have to think and work differently to navigate this crisis. The clearer our thoughts, the more effective our responses. And the new normal will not be solved through tactical fixes.'

To move beyond 'surviving to thriving', in this new normal, we need to shift the gears of our mind from being in Effect to Cause.

What is the Law of Cause and Effect?
You may have heard it said that nothing happens by chance! And everything happens for a reason! For many, that's a tough pill to swallow, especially in these times – that every action (or inaction) you take has consequences and results in your life.
Let's start with a definition - the law of Cause and Effect is an intuitive concept of causality explaining the relationship between events whereby a cause creates an effect. Still, the exact nature of these relationships can be hard to guess.

Cause and Effect is part of several universal laws that guide our everyday lives. Quantum science, for example, has popularised many these laws, here are a few of them:

  • The Law of Rhythm – the seasons, cycles, ups-and-downs and stages of life.
  • The Law of Choice – the will to choose our actions at any given moment.
  • The Law of Attraction – what we attract, (good or bad) is what we get.

There's a whole bunch more of these. But, let's stick to Cause and Effect.

The choices we make are Causes (conscious or otherwise) and produce similar outcomes or Effects. When we step back and think about it, we can all see this law continually working in our lives. 

How do does this relate to the Coronavirus crisis?

The Coronavirus pandemic, through circumstance is very serious (understatement); we are all affected one way or another. It will likely wipe-out operating profilts and turnover for thousands of SME businesses worldwide, some have not survived the first few weeks. The self empoyed (who make up a significant percentage of the economy) will continue to be hit hard. Inevitably, some of us will mourn the loss of loved ones that won't recover. The list goes on.

In situations like this and many more ordinary ones too, one of our defaults as humans is to avoid responsibility. Yes this pandemic, at first glance, is a situation that we have no control over - that's partially true; however we are now part of a global effort to beat it. But, closer to home, for everything we personally do (and avoid) there is an Effect. Causality. Action, reaction. Cause and Effect. Also, isn't it right, that when something goes well, we like to take the credit for it, but when something goes badly, we usually shift the blame? Furthermore, isn't it more comfortable to believe that it's the actions of the pandemic (or others in more mundane situations) that cause our emotional reactions? After all, it isn't our fault is it?

But as hard as this situation is, we need to look at ourselves and take responsibility for what we will do and how we show up; don't turn the situation into an excuse. 

Excuses, excuses!
Excuse = Effect = No Control

So, we tend to fall into the excuse trap as a default. Such as it's the Coronavirus, Brexit, we're in a recession, it's our president, government, etc. - no matter how well qualified the reason, how sincere the justification, how unfair the situation – these are still excuses (Effects).

As a leader, it will be crucial how you show up for yourself and for others too.

Results or reasons
Here's an even harder pill for you to swallow - relying on fate, blaming things on circumstances or other people is, in fact, a very ineffective strategy! In life, you either get results, or you give reasons. You either stand at Cause, or you stand at Effect, there is no in-between.

Try this exercise - point at something right now and notice the three fingers pointing right back at you! This is precisely how it is when you seek to blame circumstances on someone or something else. You want to transfer the blame, but it comes right back to you!

Think of it this way - Effect is sticky, it keeps you stuck, you continue to make excuses and find reasons for not being able to do what you want or not being able to change. In Effect, you're choosing to be the victim. But, the rub is, you never get the outcome you want if you stand in Effect!

Any time you give a reason, even when it seems to be real and genuine, you believe that what is happening outside of you is more powerful than your ability to transform it from the inside. But that is not true!

The truth is when you get back to Cause you are in charge of your results. Standing at Cause is the 'can do, will do' attitude that enables you to reflect, grow and take responsibility. Cause is the key which unlocks your inner power and allows you to take control of your outcome.

Take responsibility and swallow that pill

For maximum power, choose to take responsibility for whatever happens in your life.
It doesn't matter what decision you make and intention you set, whatever it is, it becomes the Cause. The Effect is then the result of that decision or plan.

The same is true for your personal relationships as well. Treating the essential people in your life with respect, love, compassion, dignity and honesty (all at Cause), you will then enjoy loving, stable relationships, and be content and fulfilled (this is the Effect). If you apply that same principle to everyone you meet, you will get astonishing results.

This can feel hard at first, especially when you are at the bottom of the proverbial pit that some event, some crisis, or someone else has dug for you.

The fact is though - you rarely have control over external events and circumstances (like a pandemic), even less so concerning other people's actions as a (result of that pandemic).

Acknowledging this fact is the first and most powerful step in getting back to Cause, the power-end of the equation. When you recognise the fact that you are where you find yourself, no matter how you got there, you have started to take the first step to regain control of your situation. 

It is what it is. You are where you are. What's next is your choice!

Once you take this step, you make a stand against acting the victim, because the one thing you have for sure is control over how you choose to react and respond to a situation and thus influence our outcome. (response-ability) = Cause.

Initially, here are three choices:

  1. Stay where you are (at Effect) and blame everyone and everything else.
  2. Or, choose to take responsibility and step up to do something about it (at Cause).
  3. Model others that you look up to follow how their causes create successful effects in their lives.

No matter how thinly you slice something, there are always two sides.
When you take responsibility a whole new vista is open to you - you can ask yourself:

  • "What is good about this situation?"
  • "What did I do to cause this emotion to happen?"
  • "What can I do about it?"
  • "What can I learn?"
  • "What is the first step I can take to change things for me?"
  • "Who can I model that is successful, and how do I apply this to my own decision making?"

You are the Michelangelo of your results
Regret over past events or actions is sticky too - it also keeps you stuck in Effect. Ask yourself the right questions to realise your choices and to choose positive emotions instead. With practice, it is always possible to stand in Cause.

Cause = Responsibility = Power

It's all in the mind; you only need to make the right choices!
Like it or not, you are the Michelangelo of the results you experience in your own life.

Every thought you have, every word you speak (whether to yourself or out loud), and every action you take is like planting a seed; a seed that will germinate and grow when the appropriate conditions are present. This is the law of intention.

You reap the effects of having sown the seeds of past thoughts and behaviours. Be very aware that there are no idle thoughts and uproot the negative ones too! You see, when you have negative thoughts, you give away your power. You might not be aware that you do this, so start paying attention to your internal dialogue. Your thoughts and internal mind chatter profoundly affect your present reality and influence your future results. Remember, owning your results is living at Cause, allows you to create similar results in the future.

Tips for practising staying at Cause in a crisis
So, in these strange Coronavirus locked-down times, it will be important how you show up. Here are some tips to help you:

  1. Become aware of how you respond to outside circumstances and exercise more choice in your responses. Once you do that, things will stop happening to you, and you will actively start making things happen. When you decide to move from Effect to Cause, you will notice that it is much easier to get the results you want.
  2. Acknowledge your emotions - they tell you where you are right now. By accepting how you are feeling, you can then start to regain your personal power by reframing to a more resourceful attitiude.
  3. Watch your internal dialogue, simple as that. Your inner talk is the source of all your emotions and actions. When you change your internal dialogue, you become in control of your thoughts which then provides you with the right mental environment to empower yourself through choices and stop being the victim of circumstance.
  4. Creating your life by design requires full ownership and total personal accountability for where you are right now. By accepting that you are entirely standing at Cause for your life, you access the ability to recognise how your moment-to-moment thoughts, words, and actions create the results you experience.
  5. From now on, whenever you are in a situation that is causing you pain or an unwanted emotion, consciously ask yourself: 'am I standing in Cause or Effect right now?' Always get back to Cause. What you do from there on is all up to you.

Be kind, stay safe, keep well.

(Thanks to Roger Terry, my inspiring mentor/teacher for teaching me this concept. Original influence source for this article is unknown).

[1,800 words]

While you're here:

Invitation to a Peer Group Problem Solving Virtual Round table

As a leader of a business during this complex time, there are urgent decisions to make, and it can be lonely at the top.

I would like to invite you to join our per group peer problem solving round tables FREE OF CHARGE. We just know how tricky it can be to make sense of all the challenges on your plate right now and we believe our Rapid Response Team can help you. 

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Looking forward to seeing you in the Zoom Room

Until then, take care,

Andrew, Charles, Chris and Pete

CEO Growth Academy Rapid Response Team

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