Consequences

Posted by Doc
Aug 20 2009

I’m reading this book, and one character says to another “Everything has consequences.”

I swear I heard a bell go off in my head!

I’ve always said “Everything counts.”  And also “if I’m present, whether I’m active or passive, I have an effect on what happens.”

And then this fictitious characters says “Everything has consequences.” and it all comes together for me.

Everything you do, or don’t do, has consequences.

“Right, Doc. Like if I give my wife a gift, it has consequences?”

Yup. And sometimes unexpected ones. Maybe the gift is too expensive, or not expensive enough.  Maybe you thought she’d love it, but she sees it in a way you’d never think of.  Or maybe she just loves it, and feels warmer towards you for a while.

“Okay. How about if I do nothing?”

There’s no such thing as “nothing.” Being inactive is not nothing. Being silent or withdrawn is most definitely not “nothing.”

As always, since It’s All About Me, whatever you do or don’t do, I will interpret according to my context, my view of the world at that moment. And that’s my reality.

So “nothing” might be angry or hostile or sad or frustrated or… And, as they tell us in Crucial Conversations, I will then proceed to tell myself a story about how you feel, what it means, and how it affects me.  All as a result of you saying and doing… nothing.

I’m not suggesting that you either stop doing anything, or that you do something all the time.

I’m saying that it pays to be aware that Everything has consequences.

3 Responses

  1. Ken says:

    What amazes me is not that everything has consequences but that so many people in our industry act as if _nothing_ they do has consequences.

    The butterfly effect is one thing. But people do things that have direct impact on other people’s well-being and don’t waste a moment in reflection because their boss told them to or that’s the way the world works or if they hadn’t done it someone else would have.

    I understand and feel the same pressures. I’m the breadwinner for my family. I know what it is to make choices that cause other people pain. Accepting responsibility for that does not make for a good night’s sleep. But if we don’t grasp that our actions are our responsibility regardless of the circumstances then we cede the battle before it’s begun. We don’t stand a chance of making the lives of our co-workers or of our customers better.

    Making mistakes and making the best of a bad situation is human and inevitable. But denying responsibility for our own actions and affecting others thoughtlessly – that’s inexcusable.

  2. Twitter Comment


    Nothing is not possible, but NULL is.RT @zainnab RT @athought: Blogged: Consequences [link to post]

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  3. […] First Tweet 2 hours ago athought Steven (Doc) List Highly Influential Blogged: Consequences http://www.stevenlist.com/blog/2009/08/20/consequences/ view retweet […]

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