You are free to choose whatever action you want to take in life but you are not free from the consequences of your actions.
Sixteenth-century English Mathematician and Physicist Sir Isaac Newton theorized in his 3rd law of motion that “For every action, there is an equal (in size) and opposite (in direction) reaction. It is this action-reaction force that makes it possible for cars to move along a roadway surface. Every one of our actions has consequences, good or bad – Our habits, words, thoughts, affirmations, etc. You are free to choose whatever action you want to take in life, but you are not free from the consequences of your actions.
Like in real life, our actions have consequences: If you work hard, what is hard will eventually work, but you will be cut short if you take shortcuts. What you give in life is what you get back, garbage in, garbage out; if you give out a positive, radiant, optimistic outlook, people would mostly reciprocate by being cheerful. Whether it is working hard, training relentlessly to master your craft, setting healthy boundaries, or getting things done. Actions always have consequences. If you cannot pay the price, you can not win the prize.
You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn’t reserve a plot for weeds. – Dag Hammarskjöld
We live in a world where we have become accustomed to getting everything at the speed of thought. Patience is not seen as a virtue; impatience is the modus operandi of the 21st century. Why go to the library for research when Google has got all the answers? Why go to the movies when you can Netflix and chill? Why go through a fitness regimen when you can use a pill? Why work hard when there is a get-rich-quick scheme or hack? We attribute the success of the wealthy, famous athlete or actor to luck. James Allen was right.
In his influential book, As a Man, thinketh, author James Allen quipped:
The thoughtless, the ignorant, and indolent, seeing only the apparent effects of things and not the things themselves, talk of law, of fortune, and chance. Seeing a man grow rich, they say, “How lucky is!” Observing another become intellectual, they exclaim, “How highly favored he is!” And noting the saintly character and wide influence of another, they remark, “How chance aids him at every turn!”
They don’t see the trials and failures and the struggles which these men have voluntarily encountered to gain their experience; not know the sacrifices they have made, of the undaunted efforts they have put forth, of the faith they have exercised, that they might overcome the apparently insurmountable, and realize the vision of their heart. They do not know the darkness and the heartaches; they only see the light and the Joy, and they call it “luck”; do not see the longing arduous journey, but only behold the pleasant goal, and call it “good fortune”; do not understand the process, but only perceive the result, and call it “chance.”
Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance. Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit. – James Allen
We see people achieve greatness, and we are always quick to ascribe something (Luck, Talent, Environment, attitude), etc. to their success: C.Ronaldo (Arrogant), Messi (In his comfort Zone), Lebron (Narcissism), Kevin Durant (Super Team), Giannis (not skilled), Jordan (Cocky), Jayz (Snubby). I could Go on and on but what we fail to realize is that at the core of their success is their relentless pursuit of excellence, self-belief, and Labouring Under Correct Knowledge (LUCK). They realized from a very young age that greatness requires a price which is responsibility. They took responsibility for their family, team, city, country, legacy, work ethic, and self-discipline; hence, they showed up daily.
People are rewarded in public for what they practice for years in private.
We are often amazed when we see athletes, musicians, speakers, and professionals perform at an optimal level; we are in awe when we see Steph Curry (Shoot), Giannis (Dunk), Osaka (Serve), Bolt (Run), Messi (Dribble), Beyonce (Sing), Jayz (Rap), etc. What these great humans have in common is that they sweat the small stuff and are the hardest workers in the room. They are gym and studio rats; they are the first to get to the gym/studio and are often the last to leave.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
Canadian-American self-development author Brian Tracy, in his book No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline, noted:
You can calculate the value or importance of something you do by measuring the possible consequences of doing or not doing it. Something important has significant potential consequences, like jumping out of the path of a speeding car. Bringing children into the world has consequences that can go on for eighty years (which is the average life expectancy of a person today) and beyond into the lives of your grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
As an adult, you are still affected today by things your grandparents did or didn’t do to or for your parents. Likewise, the way you treat your children is strongly influenced by the way your parents treated you. It has consequences that cascade down the generations, and it has an enormous influence on their lifelong happiness and well-being.
In his book, Seasons of Life, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn writes:
We live in a world of causes and consequences. The harvest, which is our life as we now live it, is the result of seeds planted at an earlier time. Some of the “seeds” we planted ourselves through unbreakable habits. Others were planted for us by parents, teachers, and other well-meaning but often misguided people whose own poor thinking habits were passed on to us.
In either case, our current attitude, finances, environment, lifestyle, and our view of our own future possibilities are called circumstances, and to change those circumstances, we must change the cause of those circumstances, which is ourselves. We must change our habits, our attitudes, our opinions, and often our occupations, residence, and even friends if circumstances are ever to change.
The harvest, which is our life as we now live it, is the result of seeds planted at an earlier time. Some of the “seeds” we planted ourselves, through unbreakable habits.
The successful understand whatever they do or say has consequences, whether good or bad. If you continuously show up and work on the basics, you will eventually become professional. But, if you cannot pay the price, you can not win the prize. And the prize goes to the most hungry in the pack, the hardest worker in the room; how bad do you want it? As the biblical inscription says:
“The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.”
Boundaries without Consequences is nagging.
We show people how we want to be treated, and they would always treat us the way we treat ourselves. Boundaries are limits we set for things we are responsible for. We define who we are and who we are not. We can set limits on our time, energy, focus, marriage, identity, emotional space, well-being, values, etc. Our boundaries tell people what we would tolerate and what we won’t. But most of us set boundaries, but we do not back them up with consequences.
Setting boundaries without setting consequences for crossing the boundaries is counterproductive. The moment people realize you don’t follow through on what you say, they would continue to take advantage of the situation. Without consequences, we are just nagging and complaining. Unfortunately, we usually complain to the wrong people instead of enforcing the consequences and asking for what we really want.
Any confusion of responsibility and ownership in our lives is a problem of boundaries. Just as homeowners set physical property lines around their land, we need to set mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries for our lives to help us distinguish what is our responsibility and what isn’t. – Henry Cloud
A great model for asking for what we really want is the Yale Communication Model 1:
1. When ____________ happens – “ statement of an observable fact”
2. I feel ____________“clearly state your own feelings about the event”.
3. I would like ____________What do you want?
4. Or I will need to ___________“ I will need to.”
The above model is a great way of enforcing consequences when someone crosses a boundary of yours.
The consequence of laziness is poverty; the consequence of hard work is wealth.
All our actions have consequences, whether good or bad – Excuses, complaining, nagging, gossiping, habits, routine, etc. The consequence of laziness is poverty; the consequence of hard work is wealth. As writer J.K.Rowling noted in her 2008 commencement speech at Harvard University:
“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”
Knowing that actions have consequences requires that we think through our decisions and commitments before we make them. The Law is as absolute as the law of gravity: What you sow is what you reap. If you sow hard work, you realize the result of your hard work – Success; If you sow laziness, you reap the outcome of your inactivity – failure.
Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny
In his book, Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward, Clinical Psychologist and New York Times bestselling author Dr. Henry Cloud writes about the value of consequences and limits. He wrote:
The strategy for foolish people is simple: Quit talking about the problem and clearly communicate that because talking is not helping, you are going to take steps to protect what is important to you, the mission, or other people. Give limits that stop the collateral damage of their refusal to change, and where appropriate, give consequences that will cause them to feel the pain of their choice to not listen.
Whenever someone is not taking responsibility, there are always consequences. The question is, Who is suffering the consequences? Most times, with someone who is not responsive to feedback, their company, team, boss, co-workers, or loved ones are the ones who are suffering the consequences of their behavior. An addict, for example, is not trying to ruin anyone’s life; he is just trying to avoid responsibility for his problems.
When people begin to feel consequences for their behavior or performance, all of a sudden, they realize that “I need to perform, or I am going to get fired.” The need has finally been transferred from the shoulders of the people who should not be experiencing it to the shoulders of the ones who should.
Quit talking, nagging, griping, or complaining: If you don’t want or like something; communicate it effectively. If you do not see changes in the behavior, you need to enforce limits, consequences, and boundaries. As it is often said in Al-Anon Groups, ” If I don’t want to be a doormat, you have got to get off the floor.” When people show you who they are, believe them and if they cross a boundary, enforce your consequences. As American Poet Robert Frost once quipped, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
“Good fences make good neighbors.” – Robert Frost
All the Best in your quest to get Better. Don’t Settle: Live with Passion.