Many people float along through life feeling as if the current is dragging them along. Accepting to be knocked about by obstacles as part of the natural flow of existence. In fact many of us feel as if life is just something that ‘happens’ to us and we accept what ever comes our way. The problem is that if control of our life is actually being affected by external forces, they how do we ensure that we achieve the life we want? All successful people can’t be simply lucky.
There is a direct correlation between success and maintaining positive empowering beliefs. One of the most influential beliefs on a person’s success is which side of the Cause vs. Effect or ‘C<E’ equation do they believe they are on.
Being @ Effect (C<E)
People on the Effect side of the equation generally feel they don’t have a strong sense of control of their lives. When they encounter obstacles they believe that an external force is responsible for overcoming those obstacles. In fact, they often take comfort in the fact that the situation is out of their control and therefore, they do not need to experience the potential unpleasant results of dealing with the situation.
- “I didn’t get the raise because my boss is a jerk”
- “I didn’t make the sale because my client is cheap”
- “If I made more money I could be happy”
- “I can’t get into shape because I don’t have enough time to exercise”
All of the above statements are indications that the people who made them are @ Effect and so are making excuses for why they do not succeed in the specific circumstance.
Being @ Cause (C>E)
People on the Cause side of the equation have a strong sense of being in control of their lives. When they encounter obstacles, even complex ones, they perceive them as problems that have a solution within their power to over come, even if the solution is not immediately obvious. People who are at cause often enjoy the challenge of being presented with a problem because they feel a strong sense of satisfaction at being able to resolve a problem.
If we forget for a moment the controversy over who actually invented the light bulb, there is a well know quote from Thomas Edison, in response to a reporter’s question after yet another of his experimental bulbs didn’t work:
“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”
This is a great example of someone who believes they were responsible and able to overcome the obstacle presented to them.
Moving from Being @ Effect to @ Cause (C←E)
If you feel that you may be living your life at Effect and you wish to start taking control by being at Cause then I have great news for you. It’s as easy as changing a belief. (grin grin)
Being at Cause or Effect is simply a matter of what you believe. It’s how you perceive the world around you, your place in it, and what impact you have on it. It’s the difference between the woman who arrives at the check-in counter 5 minutes after it closes and accepts she has missed the airplane, and the woman who believes she deserves to be allowed to check-in anyway… and succeeds.
It happened to me in Istanbul. I arrived 2 minutes late and was told I could not check in. I started demanding to speak with managers, captains, essentially anyone I could think of. After 10 minutes of being told by the check-in clerk that their rule was firm, they finally let me in and escorted me through customs. I could have walked away accepting my fate, not that Istanbul isn’t a fantastic city to be stuck in! Instead, I was certain that if I tried hard enough, and used enough rapport, I could get on the airplane.
People can form beliefs in a moment and the experience can be strong sometimes and unnoticeable other times. I’ve seen people smash through wooden boards with their hands who absolutely believed they would break their hand if they tried, simply because they saw someone else do it.
So I have a challenge for you. Think of a person you know who lives their life at Cause. Then think of 5 situations in your life where you are not achieving the goals or success you would like to or think you deserve. Then:
- Think about what stopped you from achieving your objective
- Think about how the person you know might respond differently to each situation.
- Think about how you would now respond differently to each situation being at Cause.