“You cannot stop the waves but you can learn how to surf”- How to move from Effect to Cause

Have you ever noticed how often you hear others say “I can’t do that because…” It may be because of time, money, the kids etc.  How often do you hear “If he hadn’t said or done that…” or “he makes me so angry”?  I know I hear it a lot and at times I say these things too, don’t you?

In physics we understand the idea of Cause and Effect.  As Sir Isaac Newton said, “Every action creates an equal and opposite reaction”.  In other words, think about ten pin bowling, the cause is the bowling ball rolling down the alley in the direction you choose.  The effect is knocking over the pins when knocked by either the ball or maybe another pin.

In psychology, the idea of Cause and Effect is similar; so consider the analogy of a bowling ball. If you are At Cause you are the bowling ball and taking actions to shape and create the world you want. If you are At Effect you are one of the pins busy focussing on how something else or somebody else has affected you and your actions and maybe knocked you over.  Being At Effect will be revealed in the language you use.

So if you find yourself saying “I can’t do that because…”  or “If he hadn’t said or done that…” or “he makes me so angry” then you are At Effect.  You are letting others determine your feelings, behaviour and actions or you are blaming circumstances rather than empowering yourself to take responsibility for your actions and decisions. Also, every time you say such things you are affirming and reaffirming these points in your mind.

So, isn’t it more empowering to be At Cause? Aren’t you more likely to succeed and achieve by taking ownership of your actions and behaviours and avoiding the blame game? Won’t you feel more in control if you focus on what you can control and being conscious of the decision and actions you are taking and being responsible for them rather than the things you cannot control?  Isn’t it better to learn how to surf rather than try to blame or stop the waves?

So as a simple example, next time you are asked to have a night out with friends don’t respond with “I can’t because I don’t have the time, money or because of the kids”.  Try reframing your response with a conscious decision :-

  • Not tonight, my time is limited and I have decided to prioritise my work over a night out,
  • Not tonight, money is tight and I have decided to save up to buy my partner’s birthday present
  • Not tonight, I want to spend time bathing the children and reading them a story

And next time you hear yourself say “He makes me really angry” think to yourself and answer yourself:-

  • In what way did I influence his behaviour?
  • What actions can I take to avoid this anger?
  • What am I learning NOW about how I can do things BETTER in the future?

So, how about you?  Are you living your life At Cause or more often At Effect? Are you blaming and trying to stop the waves or are you learning how to surf?   If you are wondering how to create your own results or how to achieve the success you are seeking, as Your Catalyst For Change I can guide you on your journey of discovery and realisation and I can help you master the surf and the Ally-Oop and avoid the Wipe Out!

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