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The Root Cause

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Have you ever heard of the phrase, “looking beyond the mark”? It’s a phrase used when people become distracted by other things and miss the point. I’ve thought about this phrase a lot recently and realized how much we “look beyond the mark” in our society. I believe the solution to this is to get to the root of the issue. Let me explain.

The simplest example I can think of is in health. Often times when we become ill we go to the doctor, who often then gives us recommendations or medications for treating the symptoms. If we have a cold, a common practice is to take cold medication. However, cold medication doesn’t address the real issue, which is a weakened immune system. The medicine generally goes to work on just masking the symptoms (runny nose, headaches, fever etc.).

In more severe cases, such as diabetes, the common practice is to give patients medications to manage the symptoms of diabetes. In each of these cases, the root of the issue was never addressed. We know that any time we have an illness, whether or not it’s chronic, it is due to a compromised immune system, hormonal imbalances, metabolic issues, chronic stress and unresolved emotional issues, lack of proper sleep, etc; in short, there is more going on underneath the symptoms. The only way to truly take care of the problem is to get to the root (stress, lack of nutrition, lack of exercise, etc.).

The principle of getting to the root however, goes beyond our physical or emotional health. Issues in politics, business, family affairs, education, and all areas, have a root cause. Despite arguments, campaigning, or debates, the root cause of these problems will always be the thoughts, habits, and behaviors of individuals. Businesses generally fail when its leaders begin prioritizing profits over their people, make unethical decisions, develop unhealthy beliefs about money, etc. In other words, they develop unhealthy thoughts, habits, and behaviors. This is also true in government, families, and friendships.

The problem we have is looking beyond the mark; focusing on the wrong thing. When a business fails, we blame the market. When someone develops a chronic disease, we blame genes. When a marriage fails, we blame the in-laws or say they were never right for each other. These legitimately can play a role, but we can’t avoid the root cause; thoughts, interpretation of past experiences, beliefs, and behaviors.

Remember, there are businesses that ethically thrive during market crashes, people with a family history of chronic illnesses who never develop one, and marriages that stumble yet grow to become stronger than before.

It’s easier to blame outside circumstances for our problems, but doing so never improves the problem. The key to facing and overcoming these various challenges and issues is to first take responsibility for our lives. We can’t blame our parents, genes, the market, our boss, or anyone for how our lives turn out. We are the creative force in our lives. When we accept responsibility for our lives we can then take a step back and examine our focus. Have we been looking at the root cause or merely a symptom? Treating symptoms never solves the problem. Only by getting to the root can we make significant changes and improvements, in our health, in business, in our families, and in life.


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