Equal & Opposite

The one thing that we are all pretty much able to claim in respect the Physics knowledge is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  We probably know more about Physics than we realize (driving, cooking, walking, the list goes on) but I digress.

equal & opposite

When we decide to speak, write, ask, we don’t think about the equal and opposite reaction nearly as much as we perhaps should.  Not necessarily in relation to others, because we have little or no control over their reaction except in such that we try to craft our action for the best possible reaction by appealing to their interests.  More in relation to ourselves, over which we have much more control than we often exert.


Let’s say your co-worker thinks that you’d be perfect for an upcoming project and convinces you to put yourself forward.  You aren’t so sure that you are ready for something this high profile and fixate on the potential risks instead of the benefits.  Still, you put yourself forward, if only to get your co-worker to move on to something else.  And there is that little part of you that thinks, hey I deserve to get some kudos and get noticed for all I’m capable of.


Your self-talk is ticking along something like the old robot from Lost in Space – warning, warning, danger ahead – as you approach the leader of the project to ask some questions and show your interest.  After you walk away, you find your co-worker to relay the news and start waiting for the news of the team.  You sway between anticipation and dread, and then shock when the team is announced and it doesn’t include you.  What?  But the pose you put on for the co-worker is, ‘See I told you it doesn’t do any good – they picked the same people that they always pick’.


When do you realize that you put yourself forward to prove the danger, and your questions reinforced that and not ability, instead of as a sincere effort for improvement?  Your action created the equal and opposite reaction of rejection.  This is more insidious than self-defeating thoughts because it comes in the guise of self-development.


© 2013 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations


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Filed under Personal Growth, Work Life

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