Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Dealing With Unintended Consequences

Are you ready for the Unintended Consequences that come from you actions?

Every choice we make has intended consequences, but it also has unintended consequences as well. Sometimes those unintended consequences can be good . . . but usually they are not.

You may decide to stop eating lunch to save some calories for our new diet. But by not eating for a couple hours, our body slows down its metabolism and actually ends up causing you to gain weight.


You may send your kids to daycare five days a week so that you can make money and have a big house. But by playing with a lot of kids every day and getting as much attention as they want from daycare provider all week, don't be surprised if your child doesn't have the skills to play independently, when you would like them to. And they end up being ornery and in need of constant attention from YOU.


You may take your ad out of the Yellow Pages to save on monthly expenses. But don't be surprised when your profits go down instead of up, because of a dramatic drop in sales.


You may drive faster to get to work, because we don't want to be late. But don't be surprised when you get pulled over by a Police Officer, get a ticket for $200+ and end up geting to work later than if you had just driven the speed limit in the first place.

The fact is . . . the things you choose to do and not to do have consequences. The more you look at those consequences honestly and objectively, the more likely you will learn from them and reduce the likelihood of getting caught by them a second time.

Going back to the speeding to work example. If all you do is blame the cop for being "a jerk" and giving you the ticket and NOT taking responsibility for your own actions, then you will most likely not learn from it.

You will consider the "unintended consequences" just bad luck . . . and you will hope and pray that things will be different NEXT TIME.

But let me tell you . . . in spite of everything the churches tell you, Hope and Prayer are not methods. They are the absence of method and plan.

People who are successful in life, who create their own destinies, have just as many "unintended consequences from their actions" as you and I do. But the thing that separates success from continued failure is learning from mistakes - learning what the unintended consequences are to your actions (inactions) and taking steps to either correct for them or choosing different actions altogether.

This nice thing about unintended consequences is that we don't have to learn them the hard way on our own. We can learn from others. But that means actually accepting that as unique as our situations are, our problems are quite common.
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So let me ask YOU, as a reader, what was an unintended consequence that you came to face that you would like others to learn from?


  1. My Dad always told me to "Pray like it's all up to God and act like it's all up to you." I get annoyed when people pray for something and act surprised that it didn't happen, even though they never put any effort into it.

  2. Life deals us those unintended consequences daily. I have and still am finding out the hard way that everything hinges on how we respond to those speedbumps or walls in the road. Burying my head in the sand and hoping it will go away has historically been my preferred method of dealing. Bad Choice. What I have finally learned is that if I have a clear committed vision of where I want to go, I'm more likely to be able to go around those unintended consequences without too many setbacks. I have a pretty great business coach who is working hard to make sure I always remember that. Thanks JJ.