The Law of Unintended Consequences

As a favourite author of mine once wrote: The Law of Unintended Consequences is stronger than written law.  For every action you take with a planned outcome, even if it goes exactly to plan, there will be at least three consequences that you did not plan, intend, or expect.

I suppose I could be trite and make a comparison to drinks, flavours and all that jazz, but I’m really just being a bit more general here – it’s impossible to see all outcomes, especially when dealing with people.  The only thing you can predict about people, I have observed, is that they are generally quite unpredictable.  While you can easily make some basic assumptions about how someone is likely to respond, if you’re foolish enough to assume that they will react as you suspected then you’re setting yourself up for a fall.

I’m quite good at falling.

I’m also quite good at doing very silly things without heed for the consequences, and telling myself that since you can’t put honey back into the comb, you’ll just have to deal with it when ‘it’ happens.  Whatever ‘it’ is in the end.

Which is remarkably short-sighted, and even I can see that.  Just because you can’t predict all outcomes doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to plan for those that might occur, or consider your actions based on whether you’re prepared to risk those potential consequences.  Sometimes, though, the risk is worth it; it’s up to you to decide where that line is for you.

As another man once said, you only regret the chances you didn’t take…


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