How to Get More Out of Life

6 Apr

Ever heard of the law of unintended consequences? In a nutshell, it means that all actions, no matter how great or how small, can have unforeseen consequences in both the short-term and over the long-term.

These consequences can be good, bad, or just neutral.  But what can also vary drastically is the magnitude of impact.  In other words, seemingly small actions can have HUGE unintended consequences down the road.

James Robertson’s story is a perfect example.  His amazing experience is detailed in this month’s Inspirational Story.  Basically, Robertson’s car quit on him, and he has been mostly walking to work – a 21 miles round trip – for 12 years.

Through an acquaintance, his story was featured in a local newspaper. After seeing the feature, a 19-year-old college student started a GoFundMe account to try and raise money on his behalf to purchase a car.  In just four days, the campaign raised $300,000 from 11,400 donors.  More money has since been raised, and a local car dealership pitched in and gave Robertson a brand new car.

Wow.  As you can see, the law of unintended consequences is clearly at work here.

Both the money raised through the GoFundMe campaign and the new car were unintended consequences of a person sharing Robertson’s story with a reporter at the local newspaper.

What about negative unintended consequences?

Here is one:  Robertson lives in a bad area.  In fact, not too long ago, a man from his neighborhood won $20 million in the lottery and disappeared.  He was later found murdered, and it is believed he was killed for the money.

Accordingly, Robertson became afraid to live in his neighborhood with his new money and publicity.  Thankfully, a supporter stepped in and helped him find a new apartment in a safer area.

In the end, it really is amazing how one small action can set off a massive chain of events that can drastically change someone’s life – or many people’s lives.

One of the most amazing parts of Robertson’s story is that there were 11,400 donators who raised the initial $300,000.  The average donation was only $26.32.  It is doubtful anyone who donated such a small amount of money would think their actions would be part of something with such a massive impact on a person’s fortunes.

What’s incredible about life is that most big changes do not come from equally big actions.  Instead, they come from the accumulation of small actions.  Consistently doing the right small things each and every day have much more of an impact on your life and the lives of others than trying to find that one big solution.

No matter what you want to do — make more money, improve your career, learn a new language, lose weight, etc. — it’s all about taking the right small steps consistently.

Forget about the “secrets to massive overnight success.”  Just take one baby step in the right direction right now… and never stop.


Dr. Binder

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