The final neglect, which takes something from an impending crisis (which we may or may not know is coming) to a full blown crisis that now has our undivided attention, is what I call the “Butterfly Effect” neglect. (1)
If you are not familiar with the Butterfly Effect, it is the scientific theory that the flapping of the wings of a butterfly in the South Atlantic Ocean off of the coast of Africa is the final impetus that begins a hurricane. In simple terms, the theory is that all the forces are in place for a hurricane to form and all that is needed is one more tiny movement of the air, which is supplied by the wings of the butterfly.
This is the same way that neglect works as it relates to crisis. We neglect something over a period of time and eventually it accumulates to the point where one more instance of neglect, the Butterfly Effect neglect, brings the crisis into play. In tangible terms, it could be the doughnut that someone eats that leads to the next piece of plaque that finally clogs the artery that leads to the heart attack. It’s the last broken promise that finally breaks the trust of the child with the parent. It’s the last little inconsideration that causes a marriage to end. Obviously, one doughnut, one time not keeping your word about playing catch, or one time not calling when you are late are not things that of themselves we associate with crisis. However, the neglect of the body over time will lead to a health crisis, neglect in the parent role over time will lead to a crisis with a child, and neglect of a marriage over time will lead to its dissolution. The doughnut, broken promise, and little inconsideration are the Butterfly Effect moments that finally reveal the building storm from the accumulation of neglect. The truth about neglect as it relates to the truly important things in our lives is that what we neglect will ultimately dominate us. If we neglect our health, at some point (and it is not an “if” but a “when”) a health crisis will dominate our life. The same is true for any important relationship. Neglect your spouse too long, and the crisis that develops will dominate your life.
“What we neglect will ultimately dominate us.”
I can guarantee you that if you have been living out of balance at all, then you have been experiencing, in some way, the lasting implications of neglect and its corresponding role in crisis. As you apply the concepts that you will learn through this book, self-inflicted crisis will disappear. When you eliminate the self-inflicted crisis that comes from neglect, you will be amazed at how easy life becomes.
When you eliminate the self-inflicted crisis that comes from neglect, you will be amazed at how easy life becomes.
We cannot completely eliminate crisis in general from our lives because we live in interdependent households, work in interdependent workplaces, and interact with a society of people…most of whom are out of balance. There will still be crisis that you deal with from someone else’s neglect or stupidity or carelessness. I call this “life happening” to us. The pipes burst, some knucklehead runs a stop sign and smashes your car, someone at work drops the ball and it lands in your lap, and the list can go on. Life is going to happen to all of us. Maybe you’ve heard the old saying that “Life is what happens to us when we are making other plans.” Here’s what you will notice, when someone else does something or has something occur that causes you to become involved in a crisis, it will be much easier to deal with it than ever before.
To be continued..(“Live Full, Live Well” is available at www.balanceprofessor.com)