Janus, Newton, and the Absolute Predictability of Your Future, Part II

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.

Robert Louis Stevenson

banquet tableNow that the groundwork has been established in Part I, we can move on the real meat of this topic: how the truth about consequences will incontrovertibly make you or break you.

The Beauty in the Beast

Like Janus, consequences have a truly dichotomous nature. And like Janus, consequences allow you to look back at the end results of particular choices and apply that knowledge to future decisions. The law of outcomes is an unstoppable beast, and only you can determine whether that beast will devour you or empower you. There is no alternative. Every choice – every choice – you make will result in a predetermined outcome of benefit or detriment. You never get to opt for a “resultsless” decision, nor can you hope for a different outcome when a past decision is repeated:

  • Lie to your friends, lose their trust.
  • Run an extra mile, get a better race time.
  • Waste an hour in front of the television, lose that hour forever.
  • Study the bonus material, improve your final grade.

The results – for better or worse – unavoidably follow the actions, and the same results will follow the same actions with nearly circadian predictability. It is now that we come full circle to the foundational postulation: you can predict your future with absolute certainty, provided that you

think in terms of consequences rather than in terms of choices.

This manner of living – living by the guideposts of outcomes instead of options – demands a radical paradigm shift, a complete departure from ordinary patterns of human behavior.

The Rule of Consequences

The lesson here is to not make laborious decisions about your words and actions until you make concrete decisions about the types of outcomes you want to obtain.  Is it not just as foolish to select a consequence after choosing the action as to select a target after releasing the arrow?

You may chose to read a book because you understand the general concept that reading is a prerequisite for success, but is that really the case? Does the key lie simply in the act of reading, or does it lie in what you are reading towards? Should you not first determine who you desire to become – an accomplished poet? a magnificent orator? a preeminent physicist? – and then discerningly select the materials and manner of reading which will nurture the garden of your mind into a towering forest of knowledge capable of supporting the bold and powerful future for which you so deeply hunger? Only then will you begin to see growth beyond the limitations of an ordinary life. It is this Rule of Consequences that forms the foundation of success’s great palace.

The Feast of Your Future

So this it it. It’s time to determine who you want to become. In every aspect. Mental, emotional, financial, relational, vocational. Dream. Envision. Get specific and lay it out in black and white. Let the paper know exactly the man or woman you long to see looking back at you from the fog on your morning mirror. Then take time to understand how specific actions exert their resulting forces upon the cultivation of your faculties, and only engage in those actions which directly move you towards the great heights to which you aspire.

There is no time for meandering, no excuses for aimless triviality. An extraordinary life demands the fullness of all your energies and the force of all your will. Nothing less will suffice.  Hour by hour, choice by choice, you are preparing a feast of consequences of which you will one day be compelled to partake.

Will your banquet be filled with triumphal successes or painful regrets?

photo credit: John Bollwitt via photopin cc

Take The Pill

It is not good for human nature to have the road of life made too easy.

Samuel Smiles

Every morning, my wife gives me a mittful of vitamins that could choke an elephant and tells me that I’ll be thankful when I’m 75 and still have a mind like a bacon slicer. I know it’s true. I know I need to take the darn things to keep my body properly calibrated. It’s just that I don’t like the way they feel on the way down. It’s supremely irritating when the football-sized capsules are working their way through my esophagus – usually sideways – at a rate that makes government bureaucracy look like a track meet. Magnesium, garlic, turmeric, probiotics, digestive enzymes…they’re literally a pain in the neck going in, but they’re doing a world of good once they’re assimilated and performing their catalytic functions. I hate the process of getting them in there, but if I don’t get them in there, they’re not going to do me a lick of good.

So it is with life. You and I could spend all day trading off clichés about schools and knocks, seas and sailors, pressures and diamonds, but when it comes down to the crux of the matter, most of us give great lip service to maxims and dogmas that have absolutely no real impact on our earthly lives. Face it. We like things easy. Few of us voluntarily do hard things. We like ease, and we like comfort. Oh, sure, we love the results of hard things, the destinations of roads less traveled…but we really hate the process. We hate sacrifice. We hate delayed gratification. And we really hate being uncomfortable.

So we avoid everything that smacks of even the slightest difficulty…all the while desiring outcomes that can only be created by the difficulties we so desperately want to avoid. That, my friend, is NUTS. It’s like demanding a bespoke suit but being unwilling to go to the tailor because you don’t want to stand like a soldier for three hours and get pricked by straight pins. It’s like demanding a fertile mind at 75 but refusing to choke down a few horse pills to make it happen.

This blog is your pill. It’s not always going to be an easy read, and sometimes it’s going to be downright offensive to your highly-developed sense of personal comfort and political correctness. It’s going to hurt, but if you can swallow it, digest it, and absorb its contents, it could quite literally save your life.