In April 2014 two NHS professionals severely criticised me for suggesting there were consequences for behaviour. I was not permitted to teach my 17 year old niece this lesson in the way I would have chosen. I had gone there for help but I left having lost her.
This experience has taken me through yet another bumpy and winding journey. I have found that some people do not want to hear words like choice, consequence, discipline and delayed gratification. But no matter how you want to spin it, life is all about choices. When you choose one action over another you have made a decision. And each and every decision results in something (consequences).
Good and bad consequences — simplified examples from personal finance
The word 'consequence' seems to be understood negatively. But consequences do not have to be 'bad'. For example, succeeding financially can be a consequence of a series of choices, like choosing to save instead of spend, recognising and acting on the opportunities that come your way and working when others are not (typically early mornings, evenings and into the night).
And then there are 'bad' consequences. This is what happens when you choose the opposite. Being financially unstable can be a consequence of not bothering to learn, being too comfortable in the support of others, joining the crowd in too much (often expensive) play and not enough work, letting others drain you of your resources, choosing to spend more than you earn and buying things you do not need.
You are responsible for your choices
The word 'responsible' is defined as 'answerable or accountable for something within one's power, control, or management'. Although there are many things you cannot control in life there are many things you can. You are responsible for the choices you make and the consequences (good or bad) that follow. Think about this next time you have a choice to make. What will you gain? What will you lose? How will it affect your life in the short, medium and long term? How will it affect other people?
Dealing with consequences
You may not want to be, but you are accountable for your choices, decisions and actions. If you made the right choices then enjoy the blessings. If you recognise you made bad choices don't complain, don't blame others, don't feel sorry for yourself. Instead take responsibility, learn from your mistakes, make amends and pick up the pieces. If you want different results then change your choices and decisions.
If I could have my time again in that room with those NHS professionals I would be tempted not to use the word 'consequences'. But I know how much I have learnt from the good and bad consequences of the decisions I have made. And since we can't make people be or do anything, that leaves people firmly in the hands of consequences.
For more lessons on consequence see my Pinterest board 'Decisions, consequences and truth'.