The Ripple Effect

A small pebble can create large ripples

I believe that almost everyone, at some point in time, has heard of the ripple effect. You throw a pebble into calm water and watch the ripples until they reach the shore. It’s the same with our choices, which are the pebbles of our lives. Life is a series of events; pebbles thrown into the water. Each event is our lives will bring with it thoughts and emotions. Every decision we make, statistically, directly affects at least seven others and an untold amount of others indirectly. For every decision you make, there will be consequences. Just because i don’t see them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. There were pebbles thrown and ripples on the water, before I was born, that have impacted my life

I am not trying to justify or excuse anything I’ve done. I simply want other others to understand that even though you may have the best of intentions, sometimes there are unintended consequences.

There will be a point in every person’s life when he or she will be faced with the decisions made, the consequences, and the unintended consequences. For some, unfortunately it may not come until the point of death, but the time will come. For others like me, the truth will come home to visit before it’s too late. I am grateful to be one of the lucky ones, although it didn’t feel like luck at the time.

How do you avoid unintended consequences?

By paying attention to the ripples, by stepping outside yourself long enough to understand that the choices you make today could affect not only you, but also others for years, and even generations to come.

By throwing new pebbles in the pond, by helping others, we create a whole new set of ripples. Each pebble has the capability of starting a whole new cycle of ripples. Helping others when you may never know where the ripples will end.

When you simply do the next right thing, you will stop worrying about the consequences, and when you not longer have to worry about consequences, there is no longer a need to worry about unintended consequences.

It means taking a risk. The risk of getting involved in life – especially in the lives of others and your own.

What I understand now is that we all begin life with generations of ripples, choices made before we were even born, that can affect our lives. But we can wade into the waters of life and stop the ripples. We can make a stand, and stop making excuses for why we do the things we do.

Before you toss that pebble into the pond, or rock into the ocean, stop and think about the consequences. The ripple you cause today could last for generations. Your children are watching you and every choice you make.

Whether you see the results of your choices are not, you are responsible. Once you are aware of that, there is no excuse left to continue along the same path. People have already made choices that have affected your life to this point, some good, and some bad. Today you have a choice. You can change things, one pebble at a time.

Michael Clark



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