there are always two types of consequences, the seen and the unseen

As a young child roller coasters scared the life out of me. The speed, the height, the screaming…all things I felt I could do without, thank you very much.

But on one of my trips back to England my best friend at the time took me to Alton Towers, a popular amusement park there.

Little did I realize that most of the rides would be roller coasters.

My friend was bursting with excitement so as not to disappoint him I accepted to ride on my first roller coaster.

I’m not going to lie to you, I was scared. But I said to myself, “Hey, everyone seems to enjoy it and no one’s gotten hurt so why don’t you give it a go.”

Lo and behold, I enjoyed it. And since that time I’ve gone on roller coasters all over the world.

Life is in many ways like a roller coaster. It is full of twists and turns. It can be scary but most of the time it’s just a lot of fun.

However, unlike a roller coaster where we see what’s coming, in life we’re not always sure what’s coming next.

Some things we can see, others we can’t.

And it’s the ones we can’t see that usually cause the most damage.

A good friend of mine bought his 4-year old son a Nintendo DS and he and his wife agreed that it was the best decision they had made. He loved playing games on it and it freed up the parents somewhat.

Life was good. Fast forward a few years and suddenly their son was having trouble with his vision.

They had to take him to a specialist where they were told his vision was deteriorating due to the strain on his eyes from playing on his DS.

What started out as a great idea turned out to be a big mistake.

Luckily they caught it in time. Some people aren’t as lucky.

Immediate result (seen) – great, final result (unseen) – almost disastrous.

Let’s take a look at another example of consequences.

Chris and his wife decided to put aside 20% of their salaries each month. At first it was tough.

They had gotten used to a certain standard of living and by reducing their expenditures they had to pick and choose the things they wanted to buy.

They had to limit their spending (seen) but after a few years were able to invest in real estate and hard assets and their wealth grew (unseen).

People want instant gratification, I get that, but one of the keys to success is the ability to see where our choices are taking us.

In many cases we have a general idea of where we’re headed, even if we might not want to admit it.

What results can you see happening if

  • Mary puts aside 30% of her income each month?
  • John eats a big bag of potato chips and drinks 4 Cokes a day?
  • Liz watches 4 hours of TV every day?
  • Chris spends two hours a day to reading books on business and marketing?
  • Michael heads to the gym each day for a one-hour workout?
  • Natalie studies Japanese for 2 hours a day?

Short-term, the results of any of these activities are pretty much insignificant. But over time, huge.

Success is about seeing the unseen consequences of our decisions and then fixing those results we don’t like starting now.

How often do we avoid looking into the future because we don’t like what we see.

Don’t let that be you.

Adrian Shepherd

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