Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Consequences.

I seem to have taken a softer approach on my blog. Don't worry, the funny Travis will be back, but in the meantime I've started trying to mix in practical advice and real thoughts for you, so you know I'm more than just a fat funny guy with a penchant for offending gays and retards with an overabundant use of both of those words. (In all seriousness, thanks to this post, I'm working on it.)

What is it we hate so much about consequences?

I've reached an age where I realize that no matter what I do, there is a consequence. Whether I do something amazingly good, or whether I do something depressingly dumb, I'm going to reap a benefit or a punishment. However, the word consequence has a distinctly negative connotation that most people scoff at. If I mentioned to you that I had won the lottery as a consequence of me buying a ticket, you would probably think that I either hadn't won a lot, or that I'd somehow stumbled on a way to win the lottery where I have to GIVE money to someone.

But why are we so worried about consequences? When you act on something, you know what to expect. You know ahead of time what things could go wrong, or what result could come about. If you steal something, you know you could get caught. If you skip a day of birth control, you know you might have a child. If you buy the above mentioned lottery ticket, you know there is a chance, no matter how small, that you might win. But yet we seem to fear the consequences of our actions, even having knowledge beforehand that they might be bad.

If I take a shot in basketball, there is a consequence. Either the ball goes in and we get a point, or the ball doesn't go in and we don't get a point. Those consequences lead to other decisions. If I miss, I can choose to meet my consequence head on by following my shot, possibly getting a rebound, and maybe getting another opportunity to score; or I can stand where I am, thinking about what happened and what I did wrong. If I throw a punch in Tae Kwon Do, it has a consequence. One of those consequences might be that the blow is blocked, giving the other person an opportunity to strike me back. I am faced with a choice to absorb the blow of my consequence, or I can step into the consequence and try to take charge of the situation through proactive force.

Maybe you've had a situation in your life where you have been faced with the consequences of decisions you have made. Be honest with yourself and realize that you knew the possible consequences of your actions when you made the decision you made. Instead of simply reacting to those consequences, be proactive in your approach. Don't sit idly by and absorb the blows of your miscalculations, instead, step into the consequence, face it head on, and approach it with the confidence that comes with being brave enough to do so.

Here recently The Missus and I decided to get serious about having a child. When we made that decision, we knew there would be consequences for our actions. A possible consequence would have been having a child to call our own. Another one would be getting told that it would never happen. What we were told is that it COULD happen, but it would be really expensive. Instead of wallowing in the consequence from our actions, we took proactive steps, and countered the emotional blow by choosing to adopt. In doing so we've reaped a positive consequence of knowing we get to change the world for someone. We've also opened ourselves to a whole new set of possible consequences.

We also recently bought a new truck. In doing so, we have experienced the consequence of having a payment that has put a further financial obligation on us. We also have been given the positive consequence of getting a dependable new vehicle that is a joy to drive instead of a burden. How have we handled the "negative" consequence of having a truck payment? We've been proactive by paying a little more than the bill each month so that we can pay it off earlier and save on interest. There are consequences (negative and positive) for that action as well.

I am making an effort to change the negative feelings I get when I use the word consequence. I am using the word to refer to the good more than the bad. When I use it with a negative inflection, I do my best to see the proactive steps I can take to meet the challenge head on. I refuse to let myself be dragged down by the so called negative consequences of my actions, and instead I have started thinking harder about making decisions that could be laden with bad consequences. I struggle daily with eating out, which has several "negative" consequences including weight gain and financial strain. I have made several small victories by saying "no" to eating out in the last few weeks. When I do fall to the temptation of a pizza buffet, I meet my consequences head on by exercising a little more and thinking of ways to save money in other areas. I refuse to be buffeted by my buffets.

My challenge to you is that you would stop thinking of consequences as a bad thing. Consider them opportunities. Seize them. Meet them head on by holding yourself accountable for the decisions you made that got you there in the first place. Instead of blaming yourself though, think about what you can do to turn that into another opportunity that might have a more positive consequence. Be honest in your faults. Give yourself the second chance that you like to give others. Treat each new day as a positive consequence of the results of your actions the day before.

I can promise you this, you'll start seeing consequences as something to be desired, not feared.

"And I so hate consequences
And running from you is what my best defense is
I hate these consequences
Because I know that I let you down
Now I don't wanna deal with that" -Reliant K