Accumulation of Consequences of Choices

dreamstime_xs_71641025We are where we are in life because of the choices we have made.  All our choices have consequences.  It is not just a matter of each choice having a consequence (or consequences), however.  Our choices, and the consequences, accumulate and can have a domino effect.

For example, choosing to eat a piece of dessert for a special occasion will not make anyone gain weight.  However, choosing to consume more calories than what one needs, day after day, week after week, year after year, will cause weight gain and can lead to obesity and other health problems.  This is, of course, an example of a series of choices leading to negative consequences.

Choices can also lead to positive consequences.  Exercising for 30 minutes for 1 day is not going to impact anyone’s health.  Exercising for 30 minutes 3 times a week, over the course of months and years, however, will have a positive impact on a person’s health.

I know, and I’m sure you do as well, people who lie.  The more they lie, the more people don’t trust them.  The more they are dishonest, the more people believe they are always dishonest, even on the occasions when they are telling the truth.  On the other hand, people who choose to be honest build trust with other people.  People believe what they say.  Both the dishonest and honest people have built reputations—not because of one choice, but because of the series of choices that they have made.

People who continue to make responsible choices gain more of what they want out of life.  Those that continue to make irresponsible choices spend time and resources trying to repair the negative consequences of those choices.  That is time and resources that are not available to create the life they want.  More is spent on damage control than on creating.

This same concept applies to all aspects of our lives, and all the choices we make.  The consequences, good and bad, of our choices over years becomes significant.  If we want a different life, we need to make different choices, not just today, but always.

Greatest Risk

hGreatest Risk (Video)

I think the greatest risk we can take in our lives is not taking responsibility for ourselves, for our lives.

Unfortunately, I know too many people who do not want to take responsibility for themselves, for their choices, for their actions.  They expect other people to bail them out of trouble, to take care of them, to provide for them, to just give them what they want.

I know others who do not really expect other people to take responsibility, but they seem to think that if they sit around and wish for what they want, it will magically happen.

The only sure way to get what we want out of life is to take responsibility for making it happen.  Other people might give us what we want.  Or they might not.  The only way to make sure we do get what we want is to make it happen ourselves.  And that means hard work and dedication.

Are you taking full responsibility for your life?

Here is a simple test.  When something goes wrong, do you take responsibility for it or do you try to blame someone else?  When you try to blame someone else, you are trying to pass on your responsibility.  When you analyze what went wrong and what you could have done differently, you are taking responsibility.

Whatever you want out of life, it is your responsibility to make it happen.

Clean House or Change Oil?

hClean House or Change Oil? (Video)

In a previous blog I discussed work, hobbies, and required responsibilities.  Required responsibilities are those things that we are responsible to do for ourselves.  If we own a business or are self-employed, we have professional required responsibilities as well.  These are things that we need to do, but no one is going to pay us directly for them.  For example, we need to have a website, but no one is going to pay us directly for our website.  We need to work our costs into our selling price to cover our business expenses.

With required responsibilities, we can either do them ourselves or we can pay someone else to do them for us.  It is my responsibility to clean my house.  I have decided not to pay someone else to do it.  I am capable of doing it myself and it does not take that long to do.  It is also my responsibility to change the oil in my car.  I could learn how to do it, buy the necessary equipment, and determine where to dispose of the oil.  I have decided that it is a better use of my time to pay someone else to change the oil.

When I am trying to determine the best use of my time and money related to business, I often ask myself if it is similar to cleaning the house or changing the oil.  Some things, like writing and posting blogs, is similar to cleaning the house.  I have the capability to do it and can make the time to do it.  I also enjoy it.  (I enjoy writing; I hate cleaning house.  I just want to be clear on that.)

Other things, like designing a website, are similar to changing the oil.  I might be able to learn how to do it, but it will never be as good as if a professional did it and it will take me much longer to do it.  If I am designing a website that is time that I cannot spend elsewhere.  The money I would save doing it myself would probably be small compared to lost revenue.  And I would still have an inferior website.

In business, we have to decide what we can and should do for ourselves and what we need to hire someone else to do.  Too often I think people see only the business “expense” and try to do it themselves.  Many of these expenses are also investments in our business.  If we are going to make an investment, it should be the best we can afford.  This may mean contracting with someone else who can do it better and faster than we can.

Are there tasks you are doing that would be better contracted to someone else?

Business, Hobby, or Required Responsibility?

Business, Hobby, or Required Responsibility? (Video)

hWe do many things.  Most, perhaps all, can be divided into three areas:  business, hobby, or required responsibility.

The business area includes everything that we do for others that they are willing to pay us to do.  If we have a job, we get a paycheck in return for what we do.  The work we do has value to our supervisor or the company where we are employed.  If we are self-employed, our customers pay us to provide goods or services because these goods and services are valuable to them.  In my case, people pay me to speak at their conferences and they pay me for my book.

The hobby area includes those items that we do because we enjoy them, but no one is going to pay us to do it.  Or, they will not pay us very much.  Something to keep in mind is:  “Businesses are in business to make money.  If it does not make money, it is a hobby, not a business.”  (This is the best piece of information I learned at the University of Louisville when I got an MBA.)  I love to hike, but no one is going to pay me to go hiking.

Required responsibilities are those things that we are responsible to do for ourselves.  This includes everything from feeding ourselves to cleaning our homes to taking care of our pets and/or children.  No one will ever pay me to clean my own house; it is my responsibility.  And I will never pay someone to clean their own house; that is their responsibility.

With required responsibilities, it is our responsibility to see that they are done.  We can do them ourselves, or we can hire someone to do it for us.  We can clean our house, or hire a housekeeper.  We can mow our lawn, or hire a lawn service.  It does not matter which, so long as it is done.

How would you divide what you do?  What tasks are business, what are hobbies, and what are required responsibilities?