3. Mindset Page 3
Are you at Cause or Effect?
Every day you have a choice. You can choose to be at
cause for your life in spite of the circumstances or you
can be at the effect of those same circumstances.
One of the most common issues faced by people in their
lives and leadership is life happening. How you respond
makes a difference.
4. Page 4 Mindset
Cause and Effect Cycles
Do you want to be at cause for your life, or at the effect
of life happening to you?
If you genuinely want the latter... read no more, you are
in danger of gaining the former.
Are you like a thermometer? Reacting to the external
Or, are you like a thermostat, changing and adapting and
controlling what you can control to change the
I need to emphasise to you, that there is no right or
wrong here. Both being at cause and being at effect exist
We cannot ever be completely and solely at cause for
Whilst both cycles exist and we cannot NOT be at some
effect of the outside world, it is recognizing that WE
HAVE A CHOICE to make.
5. Mindset Page 5
Cause and Effect Cycles
Consider an everyday challenge or issue you deal with and tick the box on the side of each decision step
that is typical for you. Be completely honest with yourself. This is not what you would “like to be like” this is
how you really are:
Typically I take action anticipating a
change in the external environment
Typically I react to something external
When facing obstacles I will
experiment as many times as needed
until I overcome the obstacle.
When facing obstacles I look for and
find ways to adapt until I avoid the
I strive to get the results I desire.
I am content when I get “good
I deliberately celebrate when I have
overcome the obstacle and gotten
the desired results.
I am often disappointed with the
results I get and myself.
I make sure that I learn from the
experience and consider how this
will help me in the future.
There is nothing that I can learn from
the experience. What happens,
happens. What will be, will be.
Most this side?
You are more at cause
Most this side?
You are more at effect.
Where can you choose to be more at
Let’s check where you are, most of the time. Now it’s
obvious which one you perhaps “should” be, but that’s
not the question. Where are you most of the time now?
Be honest with you.
If you are even tempted a little to “cheat” – you are
cheating yourself, not me. It doesn’t matter to me. It’s
your life, not mine. But if you think that you can fool
you, then you’re at the effect of something, I’m just not
sure what exactly.
Many of your more automated routine avoidance of
responsibility habits are not your fault exactly. Well, they
are, but you can, if you choose, blame your parents for
many of them.
6. Page 6 Mindset
Choosing to be at cause
Reacting and avoiding obstacles always appears to be
the easiest option. What the sign doesn’t tell you is that
one is a highway, the other a treacherous mountain pass
suitable for goats.
Work in pairs
Share with your “coach” your biggest negative voice.
COACH – work through the steps with your buddy.
7. Mindset Page 7
Changing from Effect to Cause Mindset
Step1. Learn to hear your effect mindset "voice."
"Maybe I don't have the ability. Are you sure you can do it?"
"What if I fail—I’ll be a failure"
"People will laugh at me for thinking I had talent."
"If I don’t try, I can protect myself and keep my dignity."
Have you heard your inner voice with these or similar statements? Learn to hear your inner Effect
Obstacles will be there whatever you decide and whatever you do. When you meet a setback, your inner
voice might say:
"This would have been a snap if I really had the ability"
"I knew this was risky. Now everyone knows how useless I am"
"If I back out now and make excuses, maybe I can regain my dignity."
When criticised you may hear yourself say:
"It's not my fault. It was [something or someone else's] fault."
"Who do they think they are to tell me..."
Or maybe someone is giving you constructive feedback but you hear:
"You are a great disappointment. I thought that you were clever and talented but now I see that you are
Step 2. Recognize that you have a choice.
Realise that how you interpret challenges, setbacks, and criticism is your choice. You can interpret them in
an effect mindset as signs that your fixed talents or abilities are lacking. Or you can interpret them in a
cause mindset as signs that you need to ramp up your strategies and effort, stretch yourself, and expand
your abilities. It’s up to you.
So as you face challenges, setbacks, and criticism, listen to the fixed mindset voice and...
8. Page 8 Mindset
Step 3. Talk back to it with a cause mindset voice.
As you approach a challenge:
THE EFFECT-MINDSET says “Are you sure you can do it? Maybe you don’t have the talent.”
THE CAUSE-MINDSET answers, “I’m not sure I can do it now, but I think I can learn to with time and effort.”
EFFECT MINDSET: “What if you fail—you’ll be a failure”
CAUSE MINDSET: “Most successful people had failures along the way.”
EFFECT MINDSET: “If you don’t try, you can protect yourself and keep your dignity.”
CAUSE MINDSET: “If I don’t try, I automatically fail. Where’s the dignity in that?”
As you hit a setback:
EFFECT MINDSET: “This would have been a snap if you really had talent.”
CAUSE MINDSET: “That is so wrong. Basketball wasn’t easy for Michael Jordan and science wasn’t easy
for Thomas Edison. They had a passion and put in tons of effort.
As you face criticism:
EFFECT MINDSET: “It’s not my fault. It was something or someone else’s fault.”
CAUSE MINDSET: “If I don’t take responsibility, I can’t fix it. Let me listen—however painful it is– and learn
whatever I can.”
Step 4. Take the cause mindset action.
Over time, which voice you heed becomes pretty much your choice. Whether you
take on the challenge wholeheartedly,
learn from your setbacks and try again
hear the criticism and act on it is now in your hands.
Practice hearing both voices, and practice acting on the growth mindset. See how you can make it work for