Most humans are so bad at determining cause and effect that we actually get it exactly backwards. Not only do we fail to identify the correct causes for the effects we’re examining, we actually mistake the effect for the cause in the same chain.
If you’re frustrated by something, try saying out loud the effect that frustration has on your life. Then reverse the two and see if that sentence helps explain your frustration. Here’s an example of a frustration: “Girls won’t talk to me.” So here’s what that sentence looks like if you say out loud the effect this has on your life: “Girls won’t talk to me, so I’m bitter and mean.”
Now flip it around: “I’m bitter and mean, so girls won’t talk to me.”
If there’s a lightbulb floating over your somewhat embarrassed face, then congratulations. A moment of introspection has given you a better course of action.
Let’s try it again: “I never get promoted.” The effect it has on you: “I never get promoted, so I half-ass my job.” The Flipside: “I half-ass my job, so I never get promoted.” Ahhhhhhhh.
Now, there’s definitely some “which came first, the chicken or the egg” going on here. But it doesn’t matter! Whichever came first initially, now eggs create chickens and chickens create eggs and that will go on forever unless YOU stop it. Don’t look for self-righteousness in blame or fault-finding. If the cycle is “I don’t get promoted, so I half-ass my job, so I don’t get promoted, so I half-ass my job, so I don’t…” then it doesn’t matter where it started – it matters where it ends.
And it ends with you, choosing a different course.