Seeking truth is too seek an honest, non judgemental, understanding of everything. I have mulled over an idea recently that I believe to be a truth of life. Here it is: all life consist of is the actions we take and the consequences that follow.
Perhaps we should start with some definitions. Actions are crucial because we live in a physical world. You can think about punching your boss but until your fist hits their face you probably won’t get fired. You can love a girl unconditionally but until you take action nothing will change. Anything we do that alters the physical world should be considered an action
Consequences are simply the result of action: the illuminated bulb to flipping a switch. What’s tricky about consequences is they can be unpredictable. Even worse is that consequences are subjective, they sit in the eye of the beholder. Let’s ponder the love sick man who finally decides to take action and confess his love to his dream girl. The consequences of his action can vary given she could accept or reject him. If he is rejected that can be interpreted as a positive or negative consequence. The negative being a broken heart and the positive being closure.
It should also be noted that inaction is an action of itself, more so, inaction has its own consequences. Our friend, madly in love, to scared to take action now has to live with those consequences. Electing to do nothing in turn has left him questioning “what if?”.
Ok, we got those pesky definitions out of the way. I am obsessed with the metaphor that life is a boat ride toward the horizon. Tying in my current thesis: I propose that every action you take is a moving of the rudder. While, the consequences are which direction the boat goes. Ideally we only want to move towards our destination. Missteps (actions) occur that push us in the wrong direction, let’s call those mistakes. Mistakes are common. Mistakes are good! They tell what not to do which is enormously valuable.
Look to your right, do you see your friend in the boat next to you? Notice that every time they move their rudder it does not affect your direction. The only thing stopping you from reaching your horizon is every movement of your rudder and how you interpret it. You may move in the wrong direction, realize it, and fix your course. Or you might move in the right direction, see it as the wrong move, and get yourself lost. Reach your horizon or be adrift at sea just understand that you are the one in control
So what are we left with? We see that every action we take pushes us one way or the other. What direction we are pushed is dictated by how we interpret our consequences. All consequences should only be judged by our own destination. Over time, our destination might change and that’s alright too. If you see your friends boat start to drift do not worry. You can not judge their direction without knowing their horizon.
3 Replies to “Actions & Consequences”
There is a natural drift in life. Without effort you can be pushed around by the wind and surf. I agree with the call to action, to rudder in the direction we envision. Without ruddering we are adrift. It may look like we’re moving, yet it’s adrift. But now it begs the question, where is the destination? Would love to the post address that timeless question. Cant wait.
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Thanks for the comment! Great recommendation for a follow up post.
There is a natural drift, but it’s not necessarily random. I recently came across the phrase ‘lines of drift’ which suggests that if we’re not taking action we will naturally drift in along a particular line, in a particular direction. It makes me think of sand dunes or the patterns you see on a beach sometimes. The challenge is to be able to see those lines and then assess if they are really lines we want to follow.
I love hearing how other people think, thanks for sharing!