Two long time golfers were standing overlooking the river
getting ready to hit their shots. One golfer looked to the
other and said, “Look at those idiots fishing’ in the rain.”
In our society there has always been a tendency to attribute
our feelings to the behaviour of others.
My partner inquired as to why I don’t play snooker with
John anymore. I asked her “Would you continue to play with
a guy who always gets drunk, takes 10 minutes to take a
shot, who tells lousy jokes while you are trying to putt and
generally offends everyone around him in the snooker hall?”
“Certainly not, dear” she replied.
“Well, neither would he.”
Some people believe that their emotions are inevitably
caused by the actions of others; many people have become
a generation raised to fear and blame.
The belief that ‘they’ cause our feelings begins at a young
age, is confirmed throughout our teenage years, and
becomes our unquestioned reality. So the weather it gets
me down, she irritates me, he upsets me, my job stresses
me, the government doesn’t look after me, and you’re
ruining our relationship!
Our aim is to become aware of how we respond to outside
circumstances and to exercise more choice in our responses.
So if somebody typically ‘makes’ us feel good we choose to
accept and thoroughly enjoy this. And if somebody typically
‘makes’ us feel upset or irritable we choose to cease
cooperating in this. In essence, our aim is to develop our
ability to ‘drive our own bus’ instead of being passive
Do you make excuses or you’re always looking for excuses
people to blame for your circumstances.
Or do you do the running, you take control of the situation,
you become empowered and stronger than you were
In NLP we talk about people living either at Cause or Effect.
If you are at effect you may blame others or circumstances
for your bad moods or for what you have not achieved or
for your life in general. You may feel powerless or depend
on others in order for you to feel good about yourself or
about life ‐‐ If only my spouse, my boss, my co‐workers, my
parents, my children, … understood me and helped me
achieve my dreams, or did what I wanted or what is best for
me, then life would be great. If you wait and hope for things
to be different or for others to provide, then you are at
effect or a victim of circumstances. And really, how much
fun is that? And how much fun do you think it is for others
to be around you? Believing that someone else is
responsible or making them responsible for your happiness
or your different moods is very limiting and gives this person
some mystical power over you, which can cause you a great
deal of anguish.
Being at cause means you have choices in your life ‐‐ you
can choose what is best for you while ensuring the choice is
ecological for those around you, those in your community
and your society. That is, you consider the consequences of
your actions on others, while not taking responsibility for
their emotional well‐being ‐‐ believing you are responsible
for the emotional well‐being of someone else places a heavy
burden on you and can cause a great deal of stress.
Those who live their lives at effect often see themselves or
live their lives as victims with no choices whatsoever. The
irony is that they do have choice and they have chosen not
to choose but to be responsive to whatever is given to
List 3 areas of your life you are living at cause?
(Where you do the running)
List 3 areas of your life you’re living at effect?
(And would like to change, i.e. my job is making me
unhappy, I can never find the right partner)
By changing your attitude and accepting responsibility you
feel more empowered and in control.
One of the exercises I do with my clients is the responsibility
contract, to put them in the drivers’ seat.
Taking responsibility for your life
I hereby take full responsibility for my life from today
You can either live your life out of cause or effect. True
winners take responsibility and under some of the most
difficult circumstances turn things around to their
The old cliché you get lemons you make lemonade.
Life is about looking at the big picture, it is easy to lose track
of the big picture.
Sign the contract
What ever the situation in your life at what ever point you
are, you can turn things around. Of course life isn’t always
fair, how do you explain some of the injustices of this world.
There are a lot of things in life I cannot explain and I don’t
have any reasoning for. I wouldn’t be human if I said some
situations and stories my clients share with me. Some of the
things I see in the news, I read in the papers didn’t upset
me. Of course I think we all go through times were we
question certain things, question perpetrators of horrific
crime, question Gods work, question the government, our
friends, family and even ourselves.
I don’t profess to know all the answers or any answers for
that matter. However life is short and all in all does anyone
really know the meaning of it all.
What does anyone know about anything other than what
were told, read.
The only thing for certain is that we are only on this planet
in our present form for a short time. And we owe it to
ourselves to make the most of every situation, every
Life can be very challenging at times and we have all got a
story to tell, some people tend to tell it more than others.
Dwell in the past spend a life time going over the same
problems and stories, though never do anything to change
Sometimes you don’t get dealt the best cards in life, though
we have a choice in how we respond. And it is within our
response that our lives are shaped.