The Law of Cause and Effect: Everything happens for areason; for every effect there is a specific cause.
Aristotle asserted that we live in a world governed by law, not chance. He stated that everything happens for a reason, whether or not we know what it is. He said that every effect has a specific cause or causes. Every cause or action has an effect of some kind or another, whether we can see it, or whether we like it or not.
This is the granddaddy law, the “Iron Law” of Western thought, of Western philosophy. The relentless search for truth, for the causal relationships among events, has led to the rise of the West in science, technology, medicine, philosophy and even warfare for more than 2000 years. Today this focus is driving the technological advances that are changing our world so dramatically.
This law says that achievement, wealth, happiness, prosperity and business success are all the direct and indirect effects or results of specific causes or actions. This simply means that, if you can be clear about the effect or result you want, you can probably achieve it. You can study others who have achieved the same goal, and by doing what they did, you can get the same results.
Success Is Not an Accident
Success is not a miracle. Nor is it a matter of luck. Everything happens for a reason, good or bad, positive or negative. When you are absolutely clear about what you want, you only need to copy others who have achieved it before you, and you will eventually get the same results that they have.
This is referred to in the Bible as the Law of Sowing and Reaping which says that, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap.”
Sir Isaac Newton called it the third principle of motion. He said, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
For you and I, the most important expression of this universal law is that, “Thoughts are causes and conditions are effects.”
Put another way, “Thought is creative.” Your thoughts are the primary creative forces in your life. You create your entire world by the way you think. All the people and situations in your life have only the meaning you give them by the way you think about them. And when you change your thinking, you change your life, sometimes in seconds!
The most important principle of personal or business success is simply this: You become what you think about most of the time.
This is the great discovery upon which all religions, philosophies, metaphysics, schools of thought and psychology are based. This principle is as applicable to individuals as it is to groups of individuals and organizations. Whatever you see or experience is the expression of the thinking of the people behind the phenomenon.
Ralph Waldo Emerson recognized this when he wrote, “Every great organization is merely the lengthened shadow of a single man.”
It is not what happens to you but how you think about what happens to you that determines how you feel and react. It is not the world outside of you that dictates your circumstances or conditions. It is the world inside you that creates the conditions of your life.
Your Choice, Your Life
You are always free to choose. In the long run, no one forces you to think, feel or behave the way you do. Rather, you choose your emotions and your behaviors by the way you choose to think about the world around you and how you choose to think about what is happening to you.
Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania calls this way of reacting, your “explanatory style.” It is the way that you interpret or explain things to yourself. It is the critical determinant of everything you are and everything you become.
The good news is that your explanatory style is learned. This means that it can be unlearned as well. Your way of explaining things to yourself is under your control. You can interpret your experiences in such a way that you feel happy and optimistic rather than angry or frustrated. You can decide to react in such a way that your responses are constructive and effective. You decide which it is to be. And you are always free to choose.
Your thoughts and feelings are continually changing. They are quickly affected by the events around you. For example, when you receive a piece of good news, your attitude immediately brightens and you feel more positive toward everyone and everything. If, on the other hand, you unexpectedly receive some bad news, you can immediately become upset, angry and short tempered, even if the news is inaccurate or untrue. It is the way you interpret the event to yourself that determines how you react.
How you can apply this law immediately:
- Examine the most important parts of your life – your family, your health, your work, your financial situation, and observe the cause- effect relationships between what you think, say, feel anddo and the results you are getting. Be honest with yourself.
- Be absolutely honest. Analyze how you really think aboutyourself in relationship to the kind of life you are living. Think about how your thoughts in each area are causing, creating and maintaining the situation around you. What changes could you make in your thinking to improve the quality of some part of your life?
Four Basic Laws
There are four fundamental laws that flow directly from the Law of Cause and Effect. These laws underlie all the laws you will learn in this book. They explain most of the human experience, for better and for worse. All happiness and success comes from living in harmony with these four laws. All unhappiness and failure comes from violating them in some way.
The big four are the laws of Belief, Expectations, Attraction and Correspondence. These are sub-laws of the Law of Cause and Effect that explain most success and achievement, most happiness and unhappiness, most prosperity and poverty in life.