The Cause & Effect Reaction in Life

(Wisdom from Children’s Books & Movies Part I)

“I’m convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.  And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
-Charles R. Swimdoll

Point to Ponder:
What ripple effect will you choose to create with your life?

Action Item:
Focus on how you react to situations that arise this week, practicing keeping a level head and a bigger perspective.

by Neissa Brown Springmann

by Neissa Brown Springmann

Although I don’t spend a ton of time watching television, there are moments when I like to “veg,” be a noodle and watch some good ol’ brainless TV. However, due to the ages of my children, gone are the days of (at least for now) watching The Voice, Modern Family or The Kardashians (please don’t judge me)! Instead, we now rely on our Disney Pixar DVD collection for entertainment.  While I already knew that each movie has a moral to its story, up until recently I really hadn’t paid much attention to more than their brilliant animation or their occasional “that’s not a kind word that we don’t ever say” teachable moments. Honestly, when the movies play I am usually on autopilot — picking up toys, making dinner, etc. Until recently. Lately I’ve become more intentional and I now listen to the themes — which are impressively chock-full of wisdom.

There’s no doubt that we adults can over-complicate life in about two seconds flat. It’s so easy to lose sight of what’s most important, which is why over the span of several weeks I am going to share with you what I consider to be some of the best and most important lessons and wisdom from children’s books and movies, at least from my three years of limited parenting perspective.

The most recent powerful dose of wisdom I ran across comes from the children’s book Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth. Thinking that the short stories would be at least worth contemplating, iGnite Member Olivia Osborne loaned me the book. Well, “worth contemplating” is putting it lightly. This book is exploding with greatness. Therefore, and without further adieu, I bring to you “The Farmer’s Luck” from Zen Shorts:

There was once an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day, his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “Maybe,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it two other wild horses. “Such good luck!” the neighbors exclaimed. “Maybe,” replied the farmer. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown off, and broke his leg. Again, the neighbors came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “Such bad luck,” they said. “Maybe,” answered the farmer. The day after that, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army to fight a war. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. “Such good luck!” cried the neighbors. “Maybe,” said the farmer.

I can only speak for my own interpretation of this short story, but what stands out to me is how the farmer maintained an unemotional and unbiased attitude throughout both the high and low moments in his life. This leads me to question how often I judge or put a “good” or “bad” label on my circumstances and how those judgements affect the next thing that happens to me…and then the next…and then the next! It also reminds me of the frequency at which I get short-sighted and allow a situation to influence my energy.

Truly, our lives are nothing short of cause-and-effect science experiments. There is extreme power in how we react to everything, because what we put out, we get back. Drama attracts more drama, while gratitude attracts peace of mind and creates joy.

Our attitude has either a positive or negative ripple effect that inevitably affects the lives of everyone around us and everything we do. Just imagine if everyone’s ripple effect were a negative one?! Or adversely, a positive? Fortunately, you are the only one who can control your power, potential and ripple effect.   So, which ripple effect will you choose to create?

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