Grasp Cause and Effect to boost your success

Domino effect representing cause and effect
Posted on: Thursday 04, April 2019
Category: Thought Leadership

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 – that every action (and inaction) you take has consequences and results in your life. This blog explores the law of Cause and Effect and how it either boosts your success or plummets you into difficulties.

Let's start with a definition - Cause and effect is an intuitive concept of causality describing the type of relationship between events whereby a cause creates an effect, but the exact nature of these relationships can be hard to surmise.

Cause and effect is part of a number of universal laws that control 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 in any given moment

The law of attraction – what we attract, (good or bad) 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. 

Here are a few examples:

One of our defaults as humans is to avoid responsibility. But, for everything we do (and avoid) there is an effect. Causality. Action, reaction. Cause and effect. Also, isn't it true, that when something goes well, we like to take the credit for it, and when something goes badly, we usually shift the blame? Furthermore, isn’t it easier to believe that it’s the actions of others that cause our emotional reactions? After all, isn't it all their fault anyway?’

But these are excuses. Excuses, excuses!

Excuse = Effect = No Control

We tend to fall into this trap as a default. Such as, it's 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.

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 are either at cause, or you are 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 true, 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 intention.

The same is true for your personal relationships as well. Treating the important 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).

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

The fact is though; you rarely have control over external events and circumstances, even less so concerning other people’s actions.

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 are, no matter how you got there, you have started to take the first step to regain control ofy our situation.

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)

Initially, here are three choices: 

  1. stay where you are (at effect) and blame everyone and everything else. OR, 
  2. 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 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?”

It’s all about you

Regret over past events or actions is sticky too - it also keeps you stuck in effect. Ask yourself the right questions to release 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 your 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.

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 deeply affect your present reality and influence your future results. Remember, owning your results is living at cause, giving reasons only nurtures the opportunity to create similar results in the future.

Tips to practise staying at Cause

  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. Watch your internal dialogue, simple as that. Your internal 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

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

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Other useful leadership blogs

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High Performance Teams Fact or Fantasy - Blog Post

Look in the Mirror - That's Who is Standing in Your Way a blog from PDX Consultng leadership and team development experts

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