The Boomerang Effect

4 Jun

Isaac Newton’s third law of physics says that for every action, there is an equal or opposite reaction. Since we are part of the physical world, this applies to us. Whatever we send out, will return back an equal or opposite response. We act, and then others react in some way. Often people return back to us the same sort of behaviors we give to them. Sometimes we get an opposite return, but often our actions are mirrored in others’ responses to us. No matter which way it goes, we will get a reaction of some sort. The question is – will it be the reaction we were hoping for?

Not only do others react to what we do, but we react to our own actions as well. For instance, say we don’t sleep well and when it’s time to get up, we feel tired and cranky. We don’t put our best foot forward during the day because we feel off. We are short with those around us, and don’t go out of our way to be helpful. We keep to ourselves, and mope. At the end of the day will we feel happier or more out of sorts because of these choices? What reaction will we have to our own actions?

And the same is true in our relationships with others. If we treat them with care and concern, chances are the returning reactions will be positive. However, if we neglect them or abuse them, the response will probably be much different. If we are rude and mean to those we encounter, they may respond the same way back to us. But if we are polite and gracious, the very same people will often react more positively. Everything we do, everything we say, elicits a response. When those responses bounce back to us, how will they look? A lot depends on what we sent out to begin with.

Newton was clear – for every action there will be an equal or opposite reaction. Today if you’re not getting the reactions you want, before you start analyzing why people aren’t responding the way you had hoped, first look at your initial actions. Do you need to modify them to get the response you want in return? If you’re getting the opposite of what you want, it may be time to change what you’re sending out. It may be time to revise your behavior. Like in volleyball, before you send the ball over, you want to make sure your serve will get the best bounce back. Otherwise, you might get a spike you weren’t planning on. And nobody wants that.

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