If You Don't Like the Effect, Don't Provoke the Cause
If you want me to listen to you, don’t shout at me. If you want my respect, be considerate to me. Because if you don’t like the effect, you shouldn’t provoke the cause. Whether you believe it or not, you often reap what you sow.
These ideas might remind you of a behaviorist perspective, where every stimulus has an associated consequence. There’s no need to be so deterministic, but to some degree, there’s a subtle balance within all of us, and any variation produces a reaction.
“If you want to know your past, look at your present, because that is the result. But if you want to know your future, pay attention to your present, because that will be the cause.”
Whether you believe in coincidences or not, leaving space for the unexpected, the improbable, and the magical will always be comforting to the heart. However, it’s necessary to accept that coincidences exist.
Since life is a continuous learning experience, you should allow yourself to be a humble student and understand that an action always produces an associated consequence. That words have the power to wound and heal. That thoughts generate emotions, and emotions can make you see the world in one way or another.
The weight of effects, or the law of consequence
We all have a basic knowledge about the relationship between certain causes and effects. The world of machines and engineering, for example, provides very illustrative lessons on the subject, although in reality they’re not very profound. If I press the power button, my computer will turn on. If I fix the brakes on my car, it will save me from a lot of accidents.
However, human behavior is much more complex. We don’t have buttons or instruction manuals. In fact, sometimes, even when we interact in the same way with two different people, the effects are very different. People are just as amazing as they are complicated. We have a delicate set of emotions, likes, and values that create various reactions in response to the same stimuli.
Moreover, the so-called “law of cause and effect,” or the law of consequences, teaches us very basic concepts about the world and human interaction, which are worth remembering:
- Every action, thought, and intention is like a boomerang. Sooner or later, that behavior, that word you haphazardly threw at someone, comes back at you with a certain effect. Remember that.
- Whatever you’re suffering from today, whatever is taking a hold of you in this complex present, is linked to a cause that you should look for in the past.
- However, instead of seeing everything as a type of implicit determinism, you should accept it the way it is. We are free and powerful creatures, capable of choosing what to do, what to say, and what to think in every moment.
It’s each person’s responsibility to try to anticipate the effects each of their actions will have, and to be more reflective and intuitive.
Watch your actions, your words, and your thoughts
We are not only what we do and say; we are, first and foremost, what we think. This is how we delimit our reality to give it a shape, a body, an essence. If your thoughts are taken up by fear or words like “I can’t” or “I don’t deserve,” your path will be overtaken by swamps and barbed wire fences that you must try to get past each day.
The theme of cause and effect doesn’t just affect the people around you. Above all, it involves you as a creative agent, a powerful being capable of shaping your own reality. Below, we’ll explain how to put it into practice in the healthiest and most enriching way possible.
Pay attention to the cause to achieve a better effect
We could all live happier, more dignified lives if we were a little more concerned with our attitudes, with watching our words and trying not to harm or bother ourselves and others. The law of cause and effect reminds that everything we do, say, and think has an impact, both on ourselves and the people around us.
In the words of Galileo Galilei: “Things are connected by invisible bonds: you can’t pluck a flower without disturbing a star.” Now let’s take a look at how to produce effects that are healthy, dignified, and enriching for everyone.
- If you perform good actions, you will reap good results. However, don’t obsess over expecting others to always recognize your good actions. The person who should be most interested in you acting with kindness, respect, and nobility is yourself.
- Desires create intentions, and intentions shape our actions. So make sure that your desires are enriching, positive, and constructive for you and those around you.
- Another thing to keep in mind is automatic behavior. We live most of our daily lives on autopilot and get carried away. This causes us to disconnect from our inner world and even our emotions.
- Slow down and stop. Every time a word is about to leave your mouth, analyze the effects it might cause. Stop and turn off the mental noise that contains limiting and insecure attitudes. Reformulate your thoughts with new energy, strength, and warmth to change your reality.
Sometimes, the littlest things give rise to big, happy universes. Everything, absolutely everything, can start with a simple thought.