Archives for November 2014

Cause & Effect are not necessarily closely related in Time & Space

Cause & Effect are not necessarily closely related in Time & SpaceMost of us learned years ago that, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” We were also taught that “There is a cause for every effect and an effect for every cause.” Somewhere along the line, we have come to misunderstand how those two principles operate.

In the western culture we have come to believe that every reaction is immediate to the action, and we transpose that onto cause and effect. We have complacently led ourselves to believe that cause and affect are closely related in time and space. That is not necessarily so.

The fact is that cause and effect are not necessarily closely related in time and space. They can be, but they do not have to be. If we fail to understand that, we will eventually suffer consequences that can sometimes be severe.

Lung cancer as a result of smoking cigarettes is a classic example. Many young people have understood the potential effect caused by smoking, but they always think that, “it won’t happen to me.” Day after day, month after month, and even year after year, they continue to smoke with no apparent effect. Then, one day, in what had once appeared to be the distant future, an x-ray or other test reveals the inevitable effect. It may have been a long time coming, but it came.

There is an aspect of this axiom that can yield positive results, but one which may also cause us to unnecessarily suffer. I’m talking about doing good things for others and expecting immediate results. If we do not understand that the real effects of our good deeds may not appear for many years, or that we may never personally witness the ultimate outcome, we can become weary, even to the point of bitterness, thinking that we have wasted our time. It is only when we fully grasp the concept that the desired effect will eventually come, that we can continue pressing on even when we see no apparent effect.

In the early 16th century, as a teenager, Galileo notice that when the chandeliers in the cathedral at Pisa swung back and forth, the time it took to make the swing from one end to the other was always the same, regardless of the distance. He conducted experiments that proved his observation to be correct and he recorded his observations. Fifty years would pass before another man thought of a practical application for Galileo’s findings. The invention of the pendulum clock became one of the most dramatic, life-changing events in the history of mankind.

Now here is the moral of the story. We make countless choices every day. Each of those choices will ultimately have some kind of effect. Some of those effects will be immediate, but some will not. What is more, some of those that have an immediate effect will also have a long-term effect. The principle applies for every choice. It does not differentiate between good and bad. It just is.

Making right choices tips the balance in your favor that the eventual effects will be beneficial to yourself and others – perhaps many others. I would hope that we would always choose wisely, or at least try to. I wish everyone who reads this would stop making bad choices, not just because they are inherently bad choices, but because their effects will eventually be felt. But my concern is far greater than that.

My singular hope today is that this article will have an effect on people who are already committed to making right choices, that it will encourage you to keep on keeping on and that you will focus on continuing, with full assurance, that cause and effect are not necessarily closely related in time and space. Do not be discouraged. Do not think that you are not having an effect. You may not see it yet, but your reward will come someday.

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The only area where all men are TRULY created equal is in the number of hours in their day

The only area where all men are TRULY created equal is in the number of hours in their dayWhen our Founding Father’s stated, “all men are created equal” they were, of course, absolutely correct.  However, while all men may be CREATED equal, we sometimes aren’t BORN equal.  I think we can all accept the fact that being born into the Kennedy or Rockefeller family is a little more advantageous than being born into most of ours!  However, “privilege” aside, the one area where the playing field is somewhat leveled is by the fact that each and every one of us only has 168 hours each week, and what we do with them is what determines the level of our success.

The key, of course, deals with “Time Management.”  The first step in Time Management is the setting of Priorities.  The categories we typically deal with here are Family, Work, and Sleep.  For decades, nay centuries and perhaps even millennia, the thought has been that to be successful in business you have to concentrate on “work” and pretty much ignore the other two.  That, however, is not the case.

I’m not going to expound on the importance of a balanced life; nor on the fact that family should be the third most important priority in you life (work IS NOT one or two!); nor even on the fact that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has declared sleep deprivation a Public Health Epidemic. What am I going to do is elaborate on a statement we have all heard over and over but still may not have permeated our consciousness and affected our life.  The real key here is that we need to learn to “work smart, not hard.”

In as much as we do only have 168 a week we must accept a vitally important fact, and then implement it – – we can’t do it all ourselves!  Rather, we need to learn to delegate to others so we can usurp some of their 168 hours and “free up” some of ours!  The first step here is to determine what to delegate.  Here are several suggestions in making this determination:

  1. Give up as many of the tasks that you don’t enjoy as you possibly can – Not only will you gain more hours, you will enjoy your work that much more.
  2. Give up tasks that virtually anyone can do – Remember, rudimentary, mundane tasks don’t need your genius nor expertise.

So, if you want to get the most out of your day, determine what you enjoy most and what can only be accomplished by you and concentrate on those areas and, perhaps, some day your family will be considered “privileged” as well!

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He who dies with the most toys is still dead!

He who dies with the most toys is still dead!You may be more familiar with the original Bumper Sticker, the one that said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.”  The reality of the one we are addressing, however, is far more relevant – – and true!  We have a generation that is so enthralled by, and dedicated to pursuing, toys that they have lost sight of the true meaning of life!

If we buy into, “He who dies with the most toys wins,” we will have our priorities totally askew!  You see, if you want to measure the true value of your life, it is not determined by what you have, but, rather, by who you have.  As a nation, and especially as business people, we have forgotten that vitally important adage that says, “We should love people and use things, not the other way around.

To validate my point I offer the following statement:  No one has ever been on their deathbed and uttered the words, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”  This was exemplified a few years ago by a TV commercial where the following dialogue takes place:

Little Girl:  “Mommy, why do you have to go away for the week-end and work?”

Mom:  “So we can live in our nice big house, honey.”

Little Girl:  “Mommy, can we buy a smaller house and you stay home more?”

What parents in our society need to realize is that kids, real kids, don’t want more toys to play with, they want Mom and Dad to play with them.  More fun is had in a rowboat that is actually taken to the lake than with a speedboat that stays in the driveway ‘cause Mom and Dad are working to pay it off!

As you set your goals for the next year, first set your priorities.  And, as you do so, don’t forget our “Bumper Sticker” truth:  “He who dies with the most toys is still dead.”

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