Wisdom//

Become a Master Problem Solver

Step one: Remember that everything that you do has an impact.

Thanit Weerawan/ Getty Images
Thanit Weerawan/ Getty Images

By Catherine Plano

There is no right or wrong. There is only cause and effect. Let’s talk about karma, the universal law of “cause” and “effect” – you reap what you sow.

Essentially, what this means is that every effect has a definite cause, and likewise, for every cause there is a definite effect – everything that we currently have in our lives is an effect that is a result of a specific cause.

This law teaches us that nothing happens by chance; we create it no matter what the circumstances.

So, given this is the case, then it is far more empowering to be “at cause” rather than to be constantly making excuses because you’re living on the “effect” side of this equation. To be at cause is to be responsible and accountable for all your actions.

[Related: 7 Steps In Project Management To Make Sure Everyone’s Learning The Necessary Lessons]

Everything that you do has an impact.

Every thought infused with feelings creates an attitude. Eventually, this attitude shows up as your behavior, and with every action, you reap your results.

You create your own karma. If you’re not happy with the effects that you have created, then you must change the causes that created them in the first place.

This is easier said than done when we live in a culture that likes to impart blame, and not necessarily take self-responsibility. But life isn’t built upon accidents, chance, or luck. We all have free will and choice, whether we consciously or unconsciously choose what we experience and how we feel.

“Cause” is the decisions we make and the actions we take on. Whether our decisions are small or significant, it makes no difference. Every decision you have made and action you have taken has set events into motion that are creating the specific effects that we are now experiencing in our lives.

Your brain is a wild jungle.

The second layer of your brain is called the monkey brain – it’s the limbic part of your brain. There’s quite a lot that goes on in this part of our head.

The monkey part of your brain governs relationships, attachment, and the nervous response that triggers your emotions. This second layer also responds to reward. It seeks approval and punishment. It avoids judgment. Desired outcomes are rewarded and celebrated, and undesired outcomes are punished and disciplined. This part of the brain is where we process cause and effect.

Processing cause and effect is critical in your interactions with others. A lot of people spend their whole lives blaming others. You’ve probably met people like this – victims of life, circumstance, and relationships. “Why me?” types. It would seem they are just never able to take responsibility for themselves and stop repeating old mistakes.

Understanding cause and effect is critical to owning up to your actions and being able to see clearly that we are not only responsible for things that happen to us, but actually have a large degree of control over what happens, too.

Random acts do occur, but basically, this is your life to lead as you please. We are at cause for every reaction we get from other people, so if you don’t like the response or reaction that you receive, it’s the perfect moment to ask yourself, “What did I do to cause that?”

[Related: Reprogram Your Autopilot and Take Your Leadership to a New Level]

For every action, there is a reaction.

At a basic scientific level this is, quite simply, energy exchange. Cause is the reason why something happens, and effect is the result.

For example:

  • Caroline missed her train (effect) because she slept in (cause).
  • Sam didn’t read the Ikea instructions correctly (cause) so the table was lopsided (effect).
  • Tom received a speeding fine (effect) because he was driving 80km in a 60km zone (cause).

We process this in the monkey part of the brain. Once we fully comprehend it, we can take complete ownership of our own actions and subsequent reactions. We can also begin to appreciate the energetic flow of cause and effect working within our lives.

The monkey part of your brain is also where repressed memories and unresolved negative emotions reside. If you do not take the time to acknowledge and change these, you will continue to run these old programs or limiting beliefs. The monkey brain will continue to find evidence to support whatever it is you want to focus on, whether it is something wanted or unwanted.

As a result, the frustrations in your life will continue to repeat. A bit like the Bill Murray movie, Groundhog Day.

Cause and effect applied.

You have to identify and write down the exact problem. Once you have the problem, use the chart below to identify which side of the problem you have in front of you. Is it the “What”  of the problem? If it is, put it into the Effect side of the column. Is it a “Why” of the problem, the reason it happened? Then write it in the Cause side of the column.

The exercise here is to sort out all your problems by being in power or control of each situation. The best way to describe it is asking yourself why you created something or how you can take control of a situation and be at cause.

Accountability and responsibility come from the understanding of cause and effect. To be truly accountable for your results, you have to dig deep, to understand why you have made assumptions and labelled certain people or situations, thus triggering an impact on your results.

Let’s take your power back by taking ownership of your mistakes. Did you know that when you doubt or when you are not at cause, you give yourself power to doubt and therefore relinquish your powers of resolution and change?

Believe in yourself and your ability to empower every situation. With the right mindset, you can create massive changes in your life.

[Related: Have a Destination in Mind? Put Your Foot on the Path and Start Walking]

Catherine Plano works one-on-one with women to help them reconnect with themselves. In 2012, she launched the I AM WOMAN Project, which is now a global weekly podcast where women from all over the world share their stories.

Originally published on Ellevate.

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