Cause and Effect

Wherever you are in life—probably wherever you are located right this minute—is part of a chain of cause and effect that began many years ago.

Let’s say it’s almost midnight and you’re in an ER waiting room with a damaged ankle. That’s because you left your hometown of New Orleans to attend college in Utah because you hated the way the humidity frizzed your hair. In Utah you fell in love with and married a Mormon guy. He was flexible enough with his religion to marry outside the faith, but he still wanted a big family, so you now have five kids. And you were so exhausted from chauffeuring the kids to their various activities that evening that you stumbled stupidly and hurt your ankle.

You wouldn’t be in the ER if you hadn’t gone to Utah in pursuit of better hair almost twenty years ago.

It wasn’t fate that created this chain of cause and effect so much as the choices you made, which stem from your personality.

Your stories will work better if you apply this kind of cause and effect.

Lately I’ve been binge-watching the TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is about a young woman, Rebecca, who gives up her life in New York to live in a small town because she is obsessed with her old boyfriend from camp, Josh, even though he doesn’t see her as a mate and is now living with someone else.

Here’s an example of the cause-and-effect in a Season 1 episode:

  • Rebecca learns that Josh volunteers at a camp for underprivileged teens.
  • She sees this camp as the perfect place to read Josh a love letter she wrote him as a teenager but never delivered.
  • So she finagles a volunteer job at the camp teaching the teen girls about female empowerment.
  • Once there, Rebecca arranges a rendezvous with Josh at a romantic spot where she starts reading the letter.
  • But because it’s somewhat juvenile, Josh laughs at the letter, not taking Rebecca’s affection seriously.
  • Therefore she stops reading and tosses the letter in the trash.
  • So when Rebecca gives a speech on female empowerment, she has an emotional meltdown, realizing she has no chance with Josh.
  • But because Josh saw her sadly toss the letter in the trash, he fished it out and read it. And he is moved because he sees Rebecca believes in him in a way his girlfriend doesn’t.
  • So Josh finds Rebecca to tell her the letter is meaningful to him and he kisses her on the cheek.
  • And this kiss on the cheek reignites Rachel’s determination to keep pursuing Josh.

It’s interesting and believable and…kind of like life.

Alex Steele

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