Monday, June 09, 2008

The "CAUSE" state VS. The "EFFECT" State

A couple of years ago I took some workshops with Combat Expert Tim Larkin.(go to For those of you who do not know who he is, he is undoubtedly one of the BEST experts and teachers on combative fighting tactics than can save your life. More importantly, Tim focuses on teach people the difference between living your life in the "EFFECT" state,or the "CAUSE" State. What's the difference between the two?

When you are living in the EFFECT state you are allowing people, circumstances and external influences to EFFECT you in whatever way they want to. For example, let's say a gang banger walking down the same alley way as you pulls out a knife and walks quickly towards you. The EFFECT state naturally would mean you would run the other way or retreat. Maybe not such a good idea if you are in a dead end alley way. So in essence what is happening is that the action of the man with the knife (CAUSE STATE) is making you retreat (the EFFECT STATE). A person in the CAUSE state might have never been in the alley way to begin with. Or, he would have immediately realized that by retreating he is giving his power away. Thus he would have charged the attacker (something the attacker would never guess would happen) and would have put the gang banger in the EFFECT STATE.

Hopefully you can clearly see the cause / effect relationship here. The problem with living in the EFFECT state is that you lose your personal power and thus are left to the devices of fate, or worse yet, the non-ethical and immoral actions of a sociopath. How many people are walking around the streets, beaten down, emotionally destroyed, victimized, and only because they were never taught to realize that they do have a choice, and that living in the EFFECT state is voluntary.

There are so many areas of our lives where if we are brutally honest with ourselves we will be able to see how we have been living in the EFFECT STATE. For example, let's take food as a potential area of recurring problematic behavior for you. So you decide to go on a diet and clean up your eating habits. One week into the diet you attend a party where there is unlimited amounts of sweets, alcoholic drinks and junk food at your disposal. A person who chooses to live in the CAUSE state would be pro-active and take action as to not give in to these temptations. What might they have done?

Well, for one they might have thought ahead and known that the party would have had bad food options and instead eaten healthy food before the party began. This would have made them resist the temptation because they would have been full while at the party. I have experienced that going to a grocery store or a party while super HUNGRY can spell total disaster. The person living in the CAUSE state would be pro-active and prevent the dietary sin from taking place. The person living in the EFFECT state would have gone to the party hungry and given into his weaknesses and totally derailed himself from his true goals.

Personally, I can think of many areas of my life right now where I intentionally and often unintentionally choose to be a victim and life in the EFFECT STATE. So ask your self, what areas of your life are dominated by the EFFECT STATE? Where have you chosen to live in the CAUSE STATE? One of the things I learned from Tim Larkin is that people living in the CAUSE state prevent bad things from happening in the first place. If you think ahead and are always aware of your surroundings, you will avoid potential attacks from predators, whether they be real people or behavioral problems such as eating poorly and laziness.

Now that I am a parent, I see the wisdom in living in the cause state as opposed to the EFFECT state.

Read the following words by Tim Larkin:

"The sad fact is that teaching a child to physically
fight an adult "predator" is woefully ineffective and
very misguided.

If a hyena were stalking a lion cub none of us would
expect the cub to be able to fend off the hyena. Yet
we somehow wish that our children would be able to do
just that.

Effect State will not only get you killed -- but also
(tragically) those loved ones you are responsible for
like children and elderly relatives. We'd like to
think that there's some special training we can give
our kids that will relieve us from our responsibility
should we falter in our vigilance...

--- THERE ISN'T... it's ours until they are past that
vulnerable stage of life."


Taikei Matsushita said...

I read a book on being a victim or volunteer.
Probably victim is the consequence of effect, and volunteering to cultivate/execute the part of cause.

Anyway, cause/effect make alot of sense.

Franz Snideman said...

I think you're right on Taikei! Victim mentality is living in the Effect State!

Dr. Mark Cheng said...

Brother Franz, I'm VERY glad to see that someone's quoting Tim Larkin.

His lectures, especially in the past couple of years, have really refocused a lot of people on the idea of taking responsibility for your outcomes. He talks about it mostly in terms of the intelligent and responsible use of violence, but that same mindset parlays over into every other facet of our lives - exercise, diet, social situations, ethics, attitude.

Good stuff!!!

Franz Snideman said...

Brother Mark,

Tim's stuff is very VERY good, and thought provoking to say the least!Taking responsibility for one's action is all aspects of life!

Pete said...


A very good book to piggy-back on that philosophy is Gavin De Becker's "Gift of Fear". He states that humans are the only animals that ignore their sixth sense and go into danger instead of taking preventative measure. The reason why? They "didn't want to over-react, or offend someone". For example getting into an elevator even though the lone person in the elevator causes your hair to crawl. Women are unfortunately susceptible to that, not wanting to over-react.

In other words, do you think like a predator or are you perpetually the prey? By that, I don't mean you have to be a bad person, but are you constantly aware of what is happening around to you, and do you respond to the changes?

Good post

Gabi said...

Great stuff!

In a highly organized society focus seems to shift far too often and far too easily from individual towards collective responsibility, as if the latter could exist independently from the former.

Franz Snideman said...


That sounds like an amazing book. I remember Brett Jones talking about it in one his blogs a while bag. So true how we fail to listen to our sixth sense....

Franz Snideman said...


Great point. Because a society is made up of individuals, taking personal repsponsibility makes the collective whole better and more prepared to tackle the obstacles that come before us!

Mike T Nelson said...

Great stuff Franz! Mindset is so key and many times overlooked.
"you achieve what you believe"
rock on
Mike N

Franz Snideman said...

Thanks Mike!

Rannoch Donald RKC said...


As per Pete, I can't recommend De Beckers book highly enough. On a similar note is Blink by Malcom Gladwell that asks us to pay attention to our initial, instinctual responses. We are too often concerned about what others might think and that robs us of any pre-emptive solution.

Great post.

Franz Snideman said...


Now I must look into those books. Too many people are telling me about them.....and for a reason, eh?

And you're right, it's amazing how we sometimes fail to listen to our "spidy" senses because of societal pressure or because we don't want to look weird. Great point Rannoch!

On another note, when are you coming over to the states to do more RKC stuff?

Be well!