One of the things in life that really peeves me off is having to fumble my way through the impacts and ripple effects caused by the actions of other people who do stupid things without any consideration of how those actions will impact on everyone else around them. It’s hard enough when the rubble I’m fumbling through is the fallout from my own choices. But it’s mind-blowing when the choices of another person result in an impact that is brutally life-changing and destructive ripple effects that affect the lives of many other people in countless painful ways.
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all done it, we’ve all made questionable unwise choices that had some impact further down the road. The newspapers – and prisons – are full of stories of spur-of-the-moment choices that went terribly wrong and resulted in injury or death to other bystanders, most of whom had no say or input into those choices but were nevertheless victims forced to face the brutal impact of those thoughtless actions.
Why? Rhetorical question, because the answers are as varied as the people who make those stupid choices. Many don’t even know why themselves. One moment they’re normal – even upstanding – citizens with whole brilliant lives ahead of them. The next they’re making some stupid move that will forever change the lives of everyone around them, forgetting to stop just long enough to allow themselves to see the possible ramifications, impact and ripple effect if they go through with this course of action. Would that foresight be enough to stop anyone? Or are we/they so sure that they’re doing the right thing that nothing will convince them otherwise?
I don’t know the answer. All I know is the reality of what happens when someone does not anticipate the impact and ripple effects of what they’re about to do. Hindsight is 20/20…most of us are capable of looking back and seeing the other choices that we could have made at the time. But there is no going back to rewrite history. We’re stuck with the consequences of the actions that we DID take. And, although it’s a choice to stay or leave, regardless, we’re still stuck with the consequences of the actions that others took.
Life is fast-paced for some of us these days. It often feels like we don’t have the luxury of time to consider all of our options…the old “you snooze, you lose” mentality! But I wish we would all just slow down long enough to consider the impact and ripple effects of the choices that we make, perhaps not for every one of our day-to-day minutiae, but certainly in the choices that we should already know will affect other people besides ourselves.
Our actions have the potential for severe repercussions, and unimaginably painful ripple effects.
Maybe we could do a little more looking before we leap?