The Law of Because and Effect. Why Every Decision You Make Requires A Sacrifice.

Take away the cause, and the effect ceases.” Miguel de Cervantes

What are you willing to sacrifice? What are you willing to sacrifice now so that you don’t have to sacrifice later? Or, what are you enjoying now that you will eventually pay for later?

Every action we take, every decision we make, will produce results whether good or bad. Every decision involves giving up something (the sacrifice) for the pleasure of something else (the reward).   If you decide to smoke, the effects could be lung cancer.  If you are into fitness the effects are a healthy body.  If you fail to manage your finances because you like to shop, the effects can be a lifestyle of living paycheck to paycheck. Cause and effect, or as I call it “The Laws of Because and Effect”. Because I choose this, the Effect is that.

Because and Effect. My Meeting with Matt.

It is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. J. K. Rowling

One night I was at the mall with my son and while browsing in Barnes and Noble I ran into an old classmate from High school named Matt.  Life seemed like it hadn’t been overly kind to Matt, so as my son shopped I bought Matt a coffee and we sat down to talk.

Matt mentioned how he had been divorced for 10 years and has a daughter that lives with her mother.  He also told me he has worked at Walmart for the past 15 years as a stocker and was struggling financially.  “Have you considered maybe going back to school to learn a trade or get a degree?“, I asked.  “I really don’t want to school,“ Matt answered.  “I don’t want to deal with loans and such.”

“Ok, well what you are doing besides working?” I asked.  “I don’t do much,” Matt answered.  “ I really don’t have a lot of friends and I haven’t had a relationship since my marriage so I mostly just stay home.”

He later asked me how I was doing.  “Well, I’ve been divorced 14 years now, I am a single dad, and I work in IT,” I answered.  “Wasn’t it hard getting through all that? The divorce, being a single dad?” Matt asked.  “Yes, it was,” I responded. “But I knew I couldn’t stay hurt forever and decided not to allow that hurt to determine the person I would be”.

I continued to talk to Matt about letting go of the past and doing what he needed to do to become the person he wanted to be.  “It took me years to become the person I liked,” I told him. “I took a serious look at myself, at the things I didn’t like about my life and decided I wanted to change them. You can do it too.  It’s not going to happen overnight, but you need to take that first step”. I gave Matt my number and told him if he ever needed to talk I’m here for him.

Matt and I had three things in common. Both of us were divorced, we were fathers, and we were single. But that is where the similarities stopped.   I use to be like Matt. When I first got divorced I was an emotional mess.  At the time I didn’t have a college degree and I worked a very low paying call-center job.  I was raising two very young boys, living in a one bedroom apartment, and seriously depressed.  I quickly learned three very important life lessons.

  1. The world is a cruel and unforgiving place.
  2. No one is coming to rescue you.
  3. If you want things to change, you need to change.

This sparked a fire in me that continues to this day.  I knew I either had to get up and make things happen or do nothing and wallow in self-pity. I recognized that my actions, or lack thereof, would have lifelong complications. If I chose to take that first step, I can take a second, and then a third.  If I chose to remain stagnant that decision would be forfeiting not only my future but any chance of my son’s having a successful future.

I am constantly educating myself, always looking for ways to improve mentally, physically, and spiritually. I never get too comfortable with who I am and always know I can be better. If there is an area in my life I want to improve, I will find a way to improve it.

Matt chose a different path. He let his circumstances define him. He threw his hands up and surrendered instead of choosing to fight.  We both had a “Because”, but the choices we made later gave us different “Effects”.

Because and Effect When It Comes To Your Health.


The Laws of Because and Effect can easily be seen when it comes to health.  You can quickly tell those that sacrifice things like junk food and chose a healthier lifestyle. Then there are those you can tell who hasn’t seen the inside of a gym in years, but they love junk food and swallow gallons of Mountain Dew.

One night I came home from work and really wanted to just sit down and do nothing but play games.  However, I knew I had skipped going to the gym once that week and needed to go. There are times where I really have to force myself to go to the gym. I love the way I look and feel because I chose to dedicate 3 to 4 nights a week to do a heavy workout.   My brother once told me, “The times where you really don’t feel like going to the gym are the times you need get up and go”.  So, I decided to get up and go to the gym.

What Are You Willing To Sacrifice? The Law Of Because And Effect.

Every decision has a Pro and Con. A Sacrifice and a Reward.

I know that if I miss one workout, I’ll miss two, then four, and so on.  The next thing you know I’m out of shape and I don’t want that.   Because I take care of myself physically, the effect is that I look young for my age and I’m in good shape.

I know several guys my age that chose the opposite.  There are two guys I worked with who were both very out of shape. That is because they ate like crap and played World of Warcraft religiously.   I tried playing it once but was no good at it. These guys, however, were like gods of the online world. That was their reward for the time spent playing the game. They sacrificed their health for the reward of playing hours of video games which they enjoyed.  Now I’m not saying that everyone that plays a lot of video games is horribly out of shape, just the ones I seem to know.

Because And Effect On Your Finances.

When it comes to finances I will be the first to say I’ve made bad choices. This is largely due to not receiving a strong financial education. I grew up in a lower-middle-class family that was deeper religious. Because of their devotion to the church, the only financial education we received was to “Pay your tithes and wait for God to increase it”.

Since I recognized I had little to no financial education, I chose to take a class called “Financial Peace,” which ironically enough was held at my current church. There I learned the principles of paying off debt, how to save, and how to invest. While my financial situation is far from perfect, taking this class definitely has me going in the right direction.  This is because I chose to take the first step and get a proper start to learning about finances.

Too many people chose the effect of living paycheck to paycheck because they live beyond their means.  I had a neighbor who once asked to borrow $20 for gas money. However, I noticed he had on new timberlands, $100 Tru Religion shorts and a $50 Tru Religion T-Shirt. All of the tags still on them (I’m guessing this was the thing to do).This guy was always talking to me about how he needed to have his “clothes game on point”. Funny how people want to look like they have money when they actually don’t because they spent everything on the clothes they’re wearing in order to look the part.

This reminds me of the quote from the film “Fight Club”.   “We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like”. Because people see their favorite entertainer wearing a certain brand, they will go broke just to imitate them.  Because my neighbor spends all his money on clothes he really couldn’t afford, he had to borrow gas money from me. Some people buy so many gifts, during Christmas that they’ll go into credit card debt all because they are trying to impress other people. They go broke buying crap we don’t need.  Because and Effect.

Because and Effect. Lifestyle Choices.

“Every decision and every indecision has a ripple effect way beyond our ability to predict. Every cause has an effect, and the effect has a cumulative effect.  It also has a hundred unintended consequences that set off a thousand chain reactions.”  Mark Batterson

I can probably write a book when it comes to “Because and Effect” when it comes to lifestyle choices.  I have known too many people, including myself, who is dealing with the effects of making wrong decisions because they couldn’t see what the consequences of those choices would be years later.

My younger brother lost his life in 2001 because he chose to sell drugs and was murdered by a person he thought was his friend.  Because he wanted fast money, he sacrificed everything he was taught and the effect was his death in a failed robbery attempt.

How many celebrities, athletes, and political leaders have been destroyed because of the choices they made?  Presently we are watching people almost daily being accused of the sexual misconduct they committed decades ago. They chose to sacrifice their morals because they had no self-control and are now paying for it.

Choosing The Wrong “Because” Can Have A Lasting Negative Effect.

I know a woman who had a son named Isaiah, who, like my little brother, sold drugs.  I’m not talking just a little weed. This guy sold so much that one night the police raided his mother’s home.  Being her only son she spoiled Isaiah. Even when you didn’t go to school or got arrested, she would bail him out, buy him things like expensive clothes and even a motorcycle.

Isaiah’s girlfriend was the type of young lady that liked to party hard and he was more than willing to assist her.  She eventually became pregnant and they had a son together. Before their son turned two years old Isaiah was arrested and went to prison. While he was in prison the girlfriend died of a heroin overdose.  That left Isaiah’s mother to raise her grandson because the dad is in prison and mom is dead.

This story is full of negative Because and Effect.  Because the mother spoiled her son and bailed him out whenever he got in trouble he never learned how to take responsibility for his actions. Because he sold drugs and partied his girlfriend was attracted to his fast lifestyle. Because he sold so many drugs he is now spending years in prison. Because his girlfriend loved the fast life she partied too hard one night and died of a drug overdose.  And now Because he is in jail and she is dead, Mom, now Grandma, is raising their son. Because and Effect.

Choosing The Right “Because” Can Have A Lasting Positive Effect.

I have another Because and Effect story, but this one is more positive. I have a friend Michelle who is a single mom and owns her own baking business (not sure that’s what it’s called but stay with me). Not only is she working a business that she loves, she is also completing college with a culinary degree. She told me one night that her friends would get upset with her because she didn’t go out with them as often as they would like. But Michelle didn’t go out as often because she had orders to fill and papers to write. She is choosing to sacrifice now so that she can be successful later.

Michelle’s son loves football  I remember Michelle telling me of football camps he would attend and track meets they would travel to. She also made sure he always stayed in his books and studied hard. Because of this work ethic, her son recently received a full scholarship to Wisconsin to play football.



What Are You Willing To Sacrifice? The Law Of Because And Effect. Domino Effect

Many decisions we make have a domino effect beyond our ability to predict.

We really can never know how far reaching our decisions or indecisions can be. Some decisions can affect not only us but future generations.  It all starts with having the right because and choosing what you are willing to sacrifice.

Are you willing to sacrifice tomorrow for the pleasure of today?  My little brother did and it cost him his life.  Isaiah’s because had a negative effect not only himself but his mother and his son.  What are you willing to sacrifice right now? Are you sacrificing going out with your friends because you are using that time to build that business you always wanted?   Are you sacrificing spending money because you are saving for a home?  What is your because?  and what are you willing to sacrifice?

Remember that every decision we make has a domino effect beyond what we see. Every decision we make has a chain reaction that in turn can set off a thousand other chain reactions.  We may not see when or how, but our decisions can have an effect on future generations.

Choose wisely.



Terrell Cotton Pic

Terrell Cotton is a motivational blogger and a full-time single father of two boys who are his heart and soul.  His blog,, is dedicated to helping people become better versions of themselves by building on principles of mindfulness, self-love, and positive self-esteem. Know thyself, Love thyself.








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1 Comment

  • T.Webb

    June 17, 2018

    Awesome, Awesome AWESOME Post Terrell. Thank you for sharing this fantastic advice.

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