I read an article many years ago that talked about cause and effect, and systems and processes. While this may first bring to mind a focus on business systems and processes, it also applies directly to daily living.
One of the examples given in the article to demonstrate cause and effect was a light switch. Flip a light switch in one direction, the overhead light comes on. Flip it in the opposite direction, and you observe a different response. For each action, there is a reaction. There is a cause and an effect.
And, oh, by the way, we also train ourselves to expect the same result each time we take that action! Until there is an interruption to the process (cutting the power source, for example), you always get the same result when in one of these two states.
These actions/reactions go on all day long for us:
- Turn on the water faucet . . . water comes out.
- Show up at work (do your work) . . . you get paid.
- Press the gas pedal, your vehicle moves; put on the brake, it stops.
- Put your hand on a hot burner . . . you get burned.
What happens when those routine, “cause and effect” situations change – even if it is a slight change? You will get a different result!
If you don’t show up for work, you don’t get paid! If you don’t put your hand on the burner, you won’t get burned (or . . if you don’t turn on the burner, you won’t get burned).
Everything we do on a daily basis can be examined through this principle of cause and effect. A number of possible interferences can be introduced into the cause-and-effect routine we take for granted. Perhaps, we are the source; or perhaps, it’s an external force that caused our dilemma.
We want to get back to “normal,” but first we must figure out a few things.
Consider: No water comes from your faucet. What might you do? Here are questions I might want to resolve:
- Is it just this faucet in my home, or are all the others also not working?
- Are there any external signs of a problem?
- What is going on with my neighbors? Do they have water?
- Are there repairmen in the area that might affect my water supply?
- Did I pay my bill?
- What else?
What would you add to this list?
When a change occurs that affects you, whether you are directly responsible or not, it tends to create varying levels of “chaos.” You likely feel uncomfortable, upset, fearful or worried, until you get settled again (either back into the old comfort zone, or adjusted to the new “norm”).
It is our natural tendency (thanks to our buddy, our “ego,”) to want to put us back into a condition of stasis. As defined in the dictionary, stasis is a condition of balance among various forces; being motionless (source: American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition)
Similarly, homeostasis is the term usually used in the biological sense to mean a state of equilibrium, as in an organism or cell, maintained by self-regulating processes.
I invite you to take notice during your day of all the things that cause you irritation or discomfort. Can you identify the cause – and the effect?
Sometimes, we are the “cause” of the effect . . . we forgot to pay the bill. . . or we accidentally cut the water line while working on a sprinkler system.
Here’s another example of a situation in which I am responsible for the cause and resulting effect: I knew I was running low on fuel in my automobile, and just didn’t take the time to fill it up. I thought I could get through one more day . . . and instead, I ended up sidelined on the highway en route to work. This is an example of something I could have controlled. I COULD HAVE taken time previously to fill up the gas tank.
It takes courage to look within and admit that often, we are the catalyst for our own discomfort.
Looking inward is the first step toward finding the solutions and options that are always present.
Be in the NOW – and be present with whatever is going on (instead of ignoring it or being paralyzed from it). Acknowledge what you feel, own it. Then take a few breaths and begin to explore what or how you want to get back to your “norm.” And it is always beneficial to take the lesson presented. What could you have done differently – which translates into what you can do in the future to avoid this discomfort or unpleasant scenario.
By being focused on NOW and not scattering our thoughts in a million directions, it keeps the pathways open for real solutions to emerge. When we fill our minds with worry, what if’s, why’s and OMG’s . . . it blocks the creative side of our brain from working through the “puzzle.” And staying in that constant state of worry creates stress in the body.
Did you know that, as creatures of habit, we often train ourselves to get “into danger” so that our body can pump out that “fight or flight” hormone? We can become hooked on the adrenaline high and that learned response so that this state becomes our “norm.”
I know people who continue to find ways to keep their lives in turmoil. They stay in a constant state of angst, anger and despair.
At some level, we all know that the continual production of cortisol and related hormones can have dire consequences on our body.
By ignoring warning signs and putting off decisions that we KNOW we must make . . . we are setting ourselves up for even more stress and burden.
Are you ignoring signs in front of you that spell warnings of upcoming danger? In what ways are you setting yourself up for more stress, pain and chaos? Is this what you want?
You can begin today to change that pattern and to begin a move toward homeostasis or sense of calm. This is especially true regarding those situations over which you DO have control.
Isolate the area that is churning up the most angst for you right now. Your Job? Your Family Life? Money? Look at what you are choosing not to see . . . get curious and play, “What if . . .” with it. I’d love to hear what you come up with!Meanwhile, Make it a Golden Day!
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