There is a whole lot of finger pointing going on these days. “You did this,” or “You did that,” or “You failed to do…” is a common refrain heard across the land. It seems no one wants to be responsible for their own actions any longer. It is always someone else’s fault. It is always because of someone else’s failure. It is because of someone else’s attitude. It is because of someone else’s wealth or lack thereof.
Someone else is always to blame.
Or at least that seems to be what a majority of people believe and are trying to convince others of.
Newton’s Third Law says, “To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
In general, Newton was actually talking about physical items. Some, however, would argue that it doesn’t really apply to “life” and shouldn’t be misused that way.
I say those people are idiots.
I would posit they are saying that because they are one of those people who don’t believe in ownership of their own actions.
How about coming at it from a different angle – Every action, inaction, attitude, reaction, has a consequence. Perhaps this would be more influential coming from someone else:
A mountain is composed of tiny grains of earth. The ocean is made up of tiny drops of water. Even so, life is but an endless series of little details, actions, speeches, and thoughts. And the consequences whether good or bad of even the least of them are far-reaching. — Sivananda
So, how does this apply to the topic at hand?
EVERYTHING we do or say has consequences. Those consequences are in direct correlation (almost always) to how we navigate through life. Our actions in our environment, our interactions with others in our environment will always have consequences – sometimes positive and sometimes negative. There is never not a time when this isn’t true. Sure, the result might not have immediate consequence but make no mistake, there will eventually be a consequence.
I can’t help but take a look at the news and wonder how life would be different for lots of people had they made different choices in any given situation, whether a long time ago or in the immediate time and space.
- Law enforcement interactions: How you react in the situation will determine how they are going to react to you. Resistance, evasion, force, weapons, or suspicious activity will generate various levels of reaction. Do you always deserve the type of reaction you are going to get? Nope. But, you have to remember that your actions likely triggered the interaction in the first place. As such, your actions will also determine how the interaction progresses and ends. I can’t help but think there are a lot of situations as of late that ended terribly for lots of people (on both side of the law) because they weren’t following the law.
- Cheating (whether in minor things or big things): You make the choice to be dishonest or to hide something from someone. You are creating a situation that will have a consequence. Will you experience that consequence right away? Maybe, maybe not.
- Financial decisions: Spend wisely, reap positive consequences (most typically). Spend poorly, reap negative consequences (almost always). Either choice will likely result in habits that become a cycle. The cycle, as cycles go, repeats itself over and over. If you stop pointing fingers at others on why the cycle keeps perpetuating itself and change your behavior, because really no one else is to blame, then you will get different results. Thus, an action still has a reaction – just you get to decide if it is positive or negative.
- Weight or health management: Admittedly, there are some genetics involved here, but for the most part you are still responsible for what you do or don’t put in your body. Make good choices, reap good benefits and a healthier body. Make poor choices, reap poor health and continually cascading issues. It all starts with a choice.
- Work ethic: Your outcomes at work are directly related to how you approach work. If you are diligent, dedicated, conscientious, motivated, and energetic then you will likely have a good work experience. If you are lazy, apathetic, unmotivated, and have attitude issues then you will likely have a hard time keeping a job.
Are there exceptions to these things? Of course! Even Newton had exceptions to his 3rd law.
BUT, you can’t make a life out of pointing fingers and always blaming someone else.
You can’t be finding or relying on the exceptions for everything. If you are always looking for the exception, you probably really are looking for excuses. And those excuses? Those are the things holding you back and keeping you from making the right decisions at the right time, because you’ve trained yourself to point fingers and not take responsibility.
I’ll end with this, and I know it is cheesy, but the whole “Don’t forget if you point a finger at someone, you still have three pointed back at you.”
It’s true. Before you blame someone else for something, you better look at the choices and decisions you made along the way that got you to where you are at that moment in time.